"Are you ready kids?"
A Nickelodeon Animated Series about a highly energetic sea sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. Absorbent and yellow and porous is he. And if nautical nonsense be something you- ok, you probably get it.
SpongeBob SquarePants is the tenth entry in the Nicktoons series of cartoons, and is easily the most popular and iconic of them all. It is about the eponymous sea sponge, who is shaped like a kitchen sponge and is extremely optimistic. He works at the local Krusty Krab restaurant with his greedy boss Mr. Krabs and grumpy coworker Squidward Tentacles. He and his dimwitted best bud Patrick Star mistake Squidward for a close friend, unfortunately for him.
SpongeBob dreams of obtaining his boating license but fails every driving test he takes, usually causing mass destruction and endangering his teacher Mrs. Puff in the process. While he may be a reckless driver, SpongeBob is a fantastic fry cook who serves delicious Krabby Patty burgers to the townspeople of Bikini Bottom. He also has a knack for saving the day from the tiny villain Plankton and his talking computer sidekick Karen. They own a rival restaurant called the Chum Bucket and go to desperate lengths to steal the successful the Krabby Patty formula. As proven time and time again, failure is the only option for them.
Other friends include Gary, SpongeBob's smart pet snail who communicates by meowing like a cat; Pearl, Mr. Krabs' teenage daughter who is a gigantic sperm whale; and Sandy Cheeks, SpongeBob's Texas-accented squirrel friend who lives in an underwater dome and ventures forth wearing a bubble-helmet diving suit. The show is in a constant state of underwater bizarreness, frequently using the Rule of Funny (apparently a wood fire is possible underwater as long as you don't point it out). Funnily enough, series creator Stephen Hillenburg had a degree in marine biology - supposedly, he created a show about a sponge because he was really fed up with Small Taxonomy Pools.
The show, first broadcast in 1999, has since aired over 250 episodes and is currently in its thirteenth season, which premiered on October 22, 2020. It proved to be a huge success with both kids and adults. Kids enjoy the bright colors and silly characters, while adults appreciate its writing, wit, and a long list of parental bonuses and Getting Crap Past the Radar.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie came out in 2004, followed by a sequel, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water in 2015; a third movie, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, was released in 2020. There have also been three television 'films'": "Atlantis SquarePantis", "Truth or Square" (which is a Two-Part Episode), and "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout".
SpongeBob has had several video game adaptations of the show, with many at the quality you would expect - a few, like SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Game, are considered surprisingly good.
- I've Heard of That! What Is It?
- No Matter How Much I Beg
- The Ugly Barnacle (not exactly a trope, but a Just for Fun page)
- Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Happens every once in a while to random characters.
- Accidental Dance Craze: Patrick starts one by being the only entrant in a dance competition that did not have a hidden partner.
- Accidental Marriage:
- In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy", a delusional and senile Mermaid Man, a confused SpongeBob and the warden of Shady Shoals take part in this hilarious exchange.
Mermaid Man: Listen up you villains, I wanna eat my meat loaf! Now if you don't get out of here, then with the power invested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife!
- In "Truth or Square", Sandy and SpongeBob act out a marriage without telling the very real priest it was just a play.
- Acid Trip Dimension:
- The Fly of Despair from "Shanghaied".
- The titular "land" from "Squidward in Clarinetland".
- Acting Unnatural:
- In "Life of Crime", SpongeBob and Patrick are panicking because (they think) they stole a balloon. SpongeBob advises, "Just act natural" - then, whether out of nerves or sheer stupidity, both of them start gibbering and acting crazy. They are immediately surrounded by a crowd who mistake them for street performers.
- In the episode "Boating School", when SpongeBob is asked to act natural, he gets on all fours and starts grazing like a cow.
- Inverted in "The Bully" - when SpongeBob believes Flats will come searching for him in the bathroom, he decides to "act natural". Cue him floating around in the toilet, looking like a real kitchen sponge. Fortunately, it's just a regular student who was looking to use the bathroom - unfortunately, Flats comes in seconds later just as SpongeBob thinks he's in the clear.
Student: (looking down at Spongebob in the toilet) Oh, that's real nice.
- Adam Westing:
- Adult Child: SpongeBob's actual age is very difficult to guess. He lives independently, has a job, is trying for his "boating license"... and acts very much like a five-year-old. While there's never been any outright confirmation, some episodes and movies do touch on this:
- The dream sequence in "Sleepy Time" has his birthday listed as July 14, 1986 on a driver's license, which would make him 13 at the time of the episode's airing.
- Based on the number of times SpongeBob won Employee of The Month in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, he is somewhere around thirty, which is young for a sponge. The movie also plays with this by making his immaturity the reason he was passed over for a promotion to manager - when King Neptune accuses Mr. Krabs of stealing his crown, they are interrupted by SpongeBob ("drunk" from several ice cream sundaes), who proceeds to rant about his missed promotion.
- "SpongeBob LongPants" also plays with this, with the salesman assuring SpongeBob that the longer pants make him look more mature.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Karen plays and subverts this to an extent. She is seemingly more competent and intelligent than Plankton, usually serving as the source of Plankton's plans. However, in newer episodes, she becomes more preoccupied with pointing out Plankton's stupidity than helping him.
- In addition, nearly anything technological that SpongeBob or Squidward buy is bound to work wrong in some manner, like Le Spatula or Squidward's house security system.
- Alliterative Title
- All Just a Dream: The episodes "Procrastination" and "Doing Time". It is taken to the extreme in the latter.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Rip Slyme wrote a new ending theme song for the Japanese version. You can find it here.
- Amusing Injuries: Happens to SpongeBob often. Justified since he's... well, a sponge.
- Lampshaded in "The Bully": SpongeBob has been running from a bully that wants to beat him up, and is finally cornered. The bully then punches him, and SpongeBob actually realizes that it doesn't hurt since he's a sponge and absorbs the blows. He then goes through the rest of his day, all night, and through part of the next day with the bully punching him non-stop, the only response being a loud squeaking noise.
- In "Krabby Land" SpongeBob hurts himself to amuse children for Mr. Krabs.
- Spongebob's arm(s) coming loose is a somewhat frequent gag as well:
- One episode has SpongeBob offering to "lend a hand". Cue him pulling off one arm with the other, only have have another pop out instantly until the ground is covered with yellow arms.
- This occurs several times in "MuscleBob BuffPants" during SpongeBob's Training Montage.
- In "Graveyard Shift", as Squidward is telling SpongeBob a scary story about a man who chopped his hand off with a knife, SpongeBob doesn't understand that fish's arms don't grow back like his (even Squidward is shocked it doesn't hurt SpongeBob at all) - naturally, he SpongeBob freaks out upon Squidward telling him this. While Squidward continues the story, he begins biting his nails, which transitions into him eating his arms repeatedly, followed by outright holding a bucket full of arms to nervously chew on.
- Happens in "Krusty Love" when SpongeBob finally loses patience with Mr. Krabs.
Spongebob: "Ah regga fregga smelinolin Mr. Krabs! Yugga hugga hollin wallet! Zibby mibby spibb! Yolla holla MR. KRABS WALLET!!!"
- Also happens in "Karate Choppers".
- Annoying Laugh: SpongeBob's tradmark laugh is considered this by quite a few of his friends (and of course, Squidward).
- In "Something Smells", SpongeBob is trying to figure out why everyone's been avoiding him. Patrick ponders:
Patrick: Maybe it's your voice.
- "Funny Pants" has Squidward trying to figure out a way to stop SpongeBob laughing constantly.
- "Larry's Gym" has Larry note that he finds SpongeBob's laugh annoying as well.
- Anti-Advice: In "Pizza Delivery", when SpongeBob and Squidward get lost together, SpongeBob predicts which way to go using his pioneering skills. Squidward goes the opposite way. The camera then pans over to show that their houses are just over a ridge in the direction SpongeBob wanted to go.
- Anything But That:
- April Fool's Plot: "Fools in April".
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?:
Flying Dutchman: Who dares disturb the Flying Dutchman?
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Plenty of times.
- Mr. Krabs in "Krabs a la Mode":
Mr. Krabs: You can beat up me employees, you can destroy me restaurant...but NOBODY TOUCHES ME THERMOSTAT!
- SpongeBob describing an Alaskan Bull Worm in "Sandy, Spongebob, and the Worm":
SpongeBob: It was big. Scary! AND PINK!
- SpongeBob after stumbling upon Patrick and Squidward in Squidward's bathroom in "Naughty Nautical Neighbors":
SpongeBob: My best friend, my ex best friend, and... RUBBER BATH TOYS!
- From The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Plan Z:
Plankton: It's evil! It's diabolical! IT'S LEMON SCENTED!
- From "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V":
Barnacle Man: 1. I want to be treated like a superhero, not a sidekick.
- When Mrs. Puff is stealing SpongeBob's new boat, he's not letting go for giant clams, cheese graters, and... EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION!? OH NO! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
- From "Life of Crime":
Patrick: "We're not talking about some dumb mail fraud scheme or hijacking here... WE STOLE A BALLOON! And they're gonna lock us up forever!"
- In "Graveyard Shift";
Squidward: He cut off own hand by mistake! [...] He replaced his hand, with a rusty spatula... And then! He got hit by a bus! And then! At his funeral... they fired him!
- Art Attacker: In "Frankendoodle", the "magic" artist's pencil and eraser are used to attack and defend.
- Fun Trivia Point: the artist himself, briefly seen in live-action at the start and close of this episode, is played by Mr. Doug Lawrence, an artist, voice actor (most notably Plankton) and occasional writer for the show.
- Art Evolution: Season one looks very different. It was the only season to use hand-painted traditional animation cels, and some character designs are slightly different. With season two, the series abandoned cels in favour of the newer digital ink-and-paint process. The series evolved slightly more after The Movie, in which the animation is more fluid and a little closer to that of the movie.
- The Artifact: Recent seasons just barely acknowledge the fact that Bikini Bottom takes place underwater. Some episodes contain underwater thunderstorms, for example.
- Art Shift:
- Many occur in "Truth or Square": The opening is redone in really trippy stop-motion (with a new theme by Cee-Lo), a sequence made to look like an old 1950's-esque TV commercial, and another Retraux sequence made to look like an old 1920's Mickey Mouse cartoon that shows SpongeBob going to work, and [[The Hill every single thing has a face.
- Ascended Meme
- "Are You Happy Now?" seems to have been inspired by the "Squidward's Suicide" Creepypasta. Why they'd chose that of all memes to ascend...
- Another SpongeBob Creepypasta meme gets ascended in "SpongeBob in Randomland", when a face similar to Red Mist Squidward makes an appearance. (It's replaced with a baby Squidward in later airings.)
- Ascetic Aesthetic: Squidward time-travelling into the middle of nowhere.
- Ass Shove: Implied in "Spy Buddies" while Patrick is wearing a pair of shorts with a built in pay-phone/walkie-talkie.
Disembodied Techno-Female Voice: If you would like to make a call, please insert twenty-five cents. (SpongeBob produces a quarter)
- At Arm's Length: Krabs and Plankton.
- Attack Backfire: In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy", when Mermaid Man attacks Spongebob with his trademark Water Balls, SpongeBob enjoys it.
- Author Appeal: The show was created by a former marine biologist. In all honesty, could you imagine anybody else creating a cartoon about a talking sea sponge?
- Autobots Rock Out: At the climax of The Movie.
- Auto Cannibalism: Played for Laughs - SpongeBob scarfs down a bucket of his own severed arms (they regenerate) like popcorn during Squidward's Ghost Story.
- Bad Guy Bar: The Salty Spitoon. Also mocked in The Movie.
- Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Done in "Bossy Boots" when Pearl turns the business into the Kuddly Krab.
- Based on a Great Big Lie: Parodied in the episode "Arrgh!". SpongeBob and Patrick quickly come to believe their pirate quest is a scam (and that Mr. Krabs has gone daft) after finding out the treasure map is just the game board they used earlier in the episode. Chance kicks in as they do find the treasure according to the map, only for Mr. Krabs to then try and take the treasure for himself.
- This wakes up the Flying Dutchman, who comes to take his treasure back, but is willing to share a couple of doubloons with SpongeBob and Patrick. Mr. Krabs is rewarded for his greed with... a plastic treasure chest.
The Flying Dutchman: But it's based on a real treasure chest!"
- Beach Bury:
- In the episode "Ripped Pants", one of the "losers" on the beach is a whale that was buried in the sand and forgotten about.
- In "Bubble Buddy", SpongeBob buries Scooter and then asks Bubble Buddy, his inanimate friend, to unbury him before the tide raises. Later, when the annoyed beachgoers list Bubble Buddy's offenses:
Scooter (as an angel): Dude, he made me experience high tide! (laughs as he ascends to heaven)
- Beach Episode: Several episodes take place at the Goo Lagoon, the favorite place of Bikini Bottomites who need to take a dip.
- Ripped Pants has a sizeable portion on the beach.
- As does MuscleBob BuffPants.
- Walking Small is the first to fully take place on the beach. And it ends with SpongeBob participating in a volleyball game... as the volleyball. Yeah.
- SpongeGuard on Duty has SpongeBob attempt to be a lifeguard... and fail miserably.
- Sand Castles in the Sand makes SpongeBob and Patrick duke it out... with Humongous Mecha made out of sand. Definitely one of those that has to be seen to be believed.
- Being Watched: From "Jellyfish Hunter", while SpongeBob walks home from work, a blue jellyfish from earlier begins to follow him, resulting in this exchange:
- Berserk Button: Whatever you do, NEVER call Patrick "tubby". Or eat his chocolate bars and lollipops... you flatfoots !
- Even more so in the the video game version of Truth or Square, where when SpongeBob called Patrick tubby, Patrick turns into a huge one-eyed robot intent on crushing SpongeBob with a mace. Though the battle apparently only happened in SpongeBob's head as SpongeBob was in Plankton's machine the ENTIRE time.
- Don't mess up his name tag either.
- CHOOOOOCOOOOLAAATEEE!!! The guy who says that turns out to like chocolate though.
- In Sandy's case, don't talk smack about Texas, or you will die.
- Or rip all of her fur off (she will make you into bikinis), or even kick her in the butt, Patrick does this (responding to SpongeBob's previous comment about kicking), and she ends up clobbering him with a trombone.
- The time SpongeBob called Gary a lady to humiliate and demean him. Sandy wasn't even there, and never found out about it, but she somehow knew to kick SpongeBob's butt the very next day.
- Don't touch Krabs's thermostat.
- Or refer to his hands as Big Meaty Claws
- When you live in SpongeBob's house after losing your job, don't make SpongeBob work and slave with the cooking, feeding and the nursing while you lie in bed every day and stay in his house for over six months, or else he'll go ballistic, as Squidward learned this the hard way.
- "FREEEEE FOOOOOD?!" "...Day...OFF?!?!?!?!?!"
- Free refills?! Automated cash registers?! Really, the list goes on....
- FOR YOUR LIFE, DO NOT POGO DANCE WITH PATRICK WITH SPONGEBOB IN PLAIN SIGHT!
- Don't use the word "overtime" around Mr. Krabs.
- Apparently, you should never use Krabby Patty meat as any footwear around SpongeBob, or he will hurt you. (Episode: Battle of Bikini Bottom).
- Gary's undercarriage.
- In "The Sponge Who Could Fly", the Bikini Bottomites get pissed with SpongeBob for assuming they didn't have dreams, especially when they think he had nothing that made him special.
- Bigger on the Inside:
- SpongeBob's house.
- The safe from the acid trip of "Squidward in Clarinetland".
- Big Little Man: The Reveal at the end of "Blackjack".
- Big No:
- SpongeBob yells one when Squidward is about to pop 'Bubble Buddy'.
- In the movie, Plankton lets one loose when SpongeBob began zapping the mind-controlling helmets off of the Bikini Bottom residents using The Power of Rock.
- Big Ol' Unibrow: Squilliam Fancyson.
Squidward: How's the unibrow?
- In "House Fancy", he has a giant sculture of his unibrow made of gilded doornobs.
- Bilingual Bonus: In "Pizza Delivery", SpongeBob hallucinates actual Korean words on the gearshift of the boat, which really mean "forward" and "reverse".
- Biting the Hand Humor:
Stanley: Wow! A TV! Uncle Sherm never let me watch TV back at home.
- "The Krusty Sponge" may be this, regarding the series' wild success and Nickelodeon's subsequent milking.
- Bittersweet Ending: In "Opposite Day", Squidward doesn't get to sell his house, but he DOES get to chase SpongeBob and Patrick into the distance with a bulldozer. In "Enchanted Tiki Dreams" the Tiki Land burns but Squidward gets to knock SpongeBob and Patrick over with a boat swing at the end.
- "Keep Bikini Bottom Beautiful". Squidward manages to one-up Squilliam, but get a littering ticket for the umpteenth time.
- Bizarrchitecture: "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" Answer: SpongeBob SquarePants
- The other giant objects that the characters live in. Although they're only giant in comparison with the characters, according to the movie.
- Well, most of the important buildings follow a sort of a theme, in that they're the sort of things that might appear as decor in fishtanks. Moai, rocks, treasure chests, etc.
- Black Comedy: This show, especially in its earlier seasons, contains a surprising amount of dark humor. For example, the entire comedy of "Nasty Patty" comes from SpongeBob and Krabs believing that they've killed the health inspector (he was just unconscious).
- Black and Gray Morality: Post-movie. SpongeBob and co are the gray while Plankton is the black, although many fans actually take this as vice-versa.
- The Blank
- Blind Driving: SpongeBob had to learn a driving course blindfolded as part of a Drill Sergeant Nasty's Training from Hell. Unfortunately, he can't drive without being blindfolded afterwards.
- The Blind Leading the Blind: "Your Shoe's Untied", where Patrick buys shoes, but doesn't know how to tie them. SpongeBob tries to teach him how, but realizes he's never learned himself.
- Patrick often gives SpongeBob this kind of misguided advice. For example, one episode has Patrick teaching SpongeBob how to be mature, with tips such as growing sideburns, puffing out his chest, and developing an appreciation for freestyle jazz. Hilarity Ensues.
- Since they're both mentally six, they're occasionally known to do this to themselves-devoid of anyone to provide them with questionable advice, they'll attempt to deduce the proper course themselves and arrive at exactly the wrong answer through some of the unsoundest logic it's possible to come across.
- In the 'pilot' episode where SpongeBob meets Sandy for the first time, SpongeBob goes to Patrick for advice about the mysterious concept of 'air'. Patrick claims she means 'putting on airs', or fancy talk. His advice is to go to Sandy's and 'When In Doubt, Pinky Out'. This causes SpongeBob, an aquatic animal, to slowly dry out in Sandy's 'treedome'. Patrick enters at one point, and the duo end up completely drying out, but Sandy saves them with water-filled helmets (which become standard attire when visiting her). So, not only is Patrick's advice misguided, it's even dangerous.
- Bloodier and Gorier: After the movie.
- Blowing a Raspberry: One episode, SpongeBob goes to Rock Bottom, where everyone speaks in raspberries. When he asks for directions, a Rock Bottomite can't understand his "accent" until SpongeBob starts adding raspberries between words.
- Boot Camp Episode: When SpongeBob gets Mrs. Puff fired after failing the boating exam once again, her replacement is a drill instructor named Sarge. A drill instructor who just so happens to be Zaeed Massani
- And "The Inmates of Summer" where SpongeBob and Patrick get on the wrong ship and end up in Boot Camp. Complete with a character voiced R. Lee!
- Boredom Montage: "Squidville": Squidward moves into a new neighborhood where everyone has the same interests and hobbies as he does, and gradually gets sick of it. And then he loses it BIG TIME. He attacks people with a reef blower, sings songs, and acts just like SpongeBob used to. At the end of the episode, Squidward uses the reef blower as a jetpack while laughing madly (underwater, no less). It then shows SpongeBob and Patrick, who were searching for Squidward, unable to find him because everyone looks the same. They then hear Squidward laughing, look up, and say "Well at least we know one thing; it SURE isn't that guy!" Episode ends.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In "Can You Spare a Dime?", SpongeBob guesses what job Squidward (who had quit the Krusty Krab) is now doing:
SpongeBob: Hmmm, I see you've been working on that moustache, the tattered clothes, the awful smell...you're a football player!
- Break the Cutie: This happens to SpongeBob quite a bit. For example:
SpongeBob: (strangles Mr. Krabs) "Listen, you crustaceous cheapskate!! Squidward has been living in MY HOUSE driving me CRAZY!! AND YOU'RE NOT GONNA HIRE HIM BACK ALL BECAUSE OF A STUPID DIME?!?!"
- Brick Joke: In what is possibly a parody on the Trope Namer, "The Two Faces of Squidward" has a fish gain the ability to fly out of seeing handsome Squidward, and then proceed to lose his untied shoe. Later in the episode, the shoe falls through the roof of the Krusty Krab, causing SpongeBob to push Squidward into a pole to save him from being hit on the head with it.
- "The Great Snail Race" has one. SpongeBob, who's training Gary, calls him a lady to "humiliate and demean him". Cut to Sandy, who says "I don't know why, but I think I'll kick SpongeBob's butt tomorrow.". The next day, at the end of the episode, Sandy comes out of nowhere, kicks SpongeBob off screen and yells "That's for yesterday SquarePants!".
- In the beginning of The Smoking Peanut, Mr. Krabs is seen abusing the concept of Free Day, taking everything he can. At the end of the episode, it's revealed that the oyster got upset because her pearl was stolen. Guess who stole it?
- Broken Smile: Mr. Krabs at the end of "Squid on Strike", when he sees that SpongeBob destroyed the Krusty Krab.
- Burger Fool: Subverted -- SpongeBob loves his job. Squidward, on the other hand...
- Butt Monkey: Most of the cast have their share of bad luck, but Squidward and Plankton are the most consistent examples.
- Entire episodes revolve around Squidward trying desperately to get away from SpongeBob and Patrick. He also has had houses land on him, had a shrunk submarine grow back to normal size while inside his body (with SpongeBob and Patrick in it), had a NUCLEAR BOMB thrown directly in his face (which promptly exploded), had his house repeatedly destroyed... well, you get the idea. And these only the instances invoked by people who LIKE him. Outside of that generally a large amount of Bikini Bottom's residents, animals and inanimate objects seem to bear an instant grudge towards Squidward, usually expressing it in somewhat violent or hurtful ways. At least the majority of abuse SpongeBob and Patrick inflict is completely accidental.
- There's also the unnamed health inspector from "Nasty Patty".
- If there's an episode that primarily focuses on SpongeBob himself, chances are something terrible is going to happen to him.
- The Calls Are Coming From Inside the House: "The maniac's in the mailbox!"
- Camp: Squidward.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Squidward
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': "Procrastination."
- Can't Stand Them Can't Live Without Them: Subverted in Nature Pants. Patrick tearfully tells SpongeBob, "Even Squidward misses you!"; cut to Squidward celebrating the fact that SpongeBob's gone.
- Played straight in Squidsville. Squidward is initially delighted to live in a neighborhood where everyone lives and acts like him, but eventually is bored by it and starts playing with a reef blower like SpongeBob.
- It varies from episode to episode whether or not Squidward actually likes SpongeBob deep down or genuinely wants him dead, though usually if there is another person to take this role, Squidward is there to subvert it.
- Played straight in Squidsville. Squidward is initially delighted to live in a neighborhood where everyone lives and acts like him, but eventually is bored by it and starts playing with a reef blower like SpongeBob.
- Captain Color Beard: "I'm Blindbeard the pirate!"
- In one of the live-action sections of "SpongeBob's House Party", Patchy the Pirate introduces us to "Longbeard the Pirate".
- And Mr. Krabs' grandfather is a pirate named Redbeard.
- Carnivore Confusion: Hugely averted. Sharks and killer whales are portrayed as normal people, sea monsters are intellectual giants while fairly harmless creatures such as plankton and flounder are the show's main antagonists.
- Cash Cow Franchise
- Cash Lure: In "Frankendoodle", SpongeBob does this to Squidward.
- Catch Phrase: "I'm ready!"
- Celebrity Power: The movie, with David Hasselhoff.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Season seven introduced an actual and extremely dark Story Arc with amongst other things, Plankton trying to commit suicide.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: "Atlantis SquarePantis" has shades of this.
- Mr. Krabs Takes A Vacation could also qualify.
- Chekhov's Gun: The starfish that was on Mermaid Man's face since his first appearance turns out to be the thing giving him the ability to breathe. Mermaid Man is narrating. Then again, all of the origin stories are wacky and unreliable, so who's to say...
- Chewing the Scenery: "I SAW IT! IT WAS BIG! IT WAS ALLLLL WIGGLY! IT WAS AN ALASKAN BULL WORM!"
- "I lost my name tag! POURQUOI?!!"
- "WHO'S SAYING I'M ABUSING MY POWERS?!?!"
- Chirping Crickets: Played with in "Squirrel Jokes": SpongeBob's first joke produces dead silence from the audience, except for a cricket chirping. On his second joke, even the cricket doesn't bother to make noise.
- Christmas Episode: "Christmas Who?" and the upcoming "It's A SpongeBob Christmas!"
Mr. Krabs: I didn't want to say this in front of Patrick, but that hat makes you look like a girl!
- Patrick too, though to a lesser extent.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The episode "Sailor Mouth". Complete with dolphin squeaks.
- At the end of "Krusty Love", SpongeBob lets out a stream of...gibberish that is obviously intended to be interpreted as cursing.
Mrs. Puff: I had no idea SpongeBob had such a colourful vocabulary!
- Cobweb of Disuse: In "Pretty Patties", the Krusty Krab is covered in cobwebs when business gets slow. SpongeBob tries to clean one, a spider makes another one. Later, Mr. Krabs himself is seen covered in cobwebs.
- Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Seen more than once.
- Especially the episodes "Idiot Box" and "The Paper", both involving Squidward.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Everyone to disturbing levels.
- The Comically Serious: Squidward.
- Comic Trio: Variant between SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward.
- Congruent Memory: Be the crane!
- SpongeBob practices driving while blindfolded. When it comes time for him to take his driving test, he finds he can't drive without the blindfold. Oddly this one provides a justification: when he can see what he's doing, it terrifies him.
- "Missin Identity" had him forget where he put his nametag. So he repeats his morning routine ad infinitum, exactly, hoping that this'll help him remembers.
- Conjoined Twins: Has happened several times: in the movie, we meet two conjoined twins in a bar. In "SquidBob TentaclePants", SpongeBob and Squidward are conjoined because of one of Sandy's experiments. And then there's this infamous quote:
"We're like brothers...only closer."
- Conspicuously Light Patch: Although the ones in older episodes could be attributed to the fairly small budgets at the time, the newer, more Nickelodeon-backed episodes have no such (weak) excuse.
- Continuity Nod: One of the thugs that wants to enter the Salty Spitoon tells about how he ate a bowl of nails for breakfast. "Without any milk!". In The Movie one of the thugs in the bar is shown eating a bowl of nails. And yes, without milk.
- In the April Fools episode, Patrick mistakenly says a depressed SpongeBob was "impressed" by Squidward's prank. In Squidward's Tiki Land, Patrick mentions a time he was feeling "impressed".
- The villain, Man Ray, was cryogenically frozen in tartar sauce for a number of years before being unwittingly thawed out by SpongeBob and Patrick, thus he is still in his physical peak. In a much later episode, Manray recognizes an old lady as someone he went to high school with. There was even an episode where SpongeBob and Patrick travel back in time and accidentally stop Man Ray from being frozen originally, thus creating a Bad Future where Man Ray is the ruler. Hilarity Ensues.
- The episodes "New Leaf" and "Spy Buddies" featured the robot Krabs suit from an earlier episode "Imitation Krabs".
- In "Chum Bucket Supreme", Patrick gives the Chum Bucket a slogan. Said slogan is later seen on a billboard in "SpongeBob's Last Stand".
- In "Rock a Bye Bivalve", Patrick is always seen watching a show where someone gets hit in the head with a coconut with music playing. In "The Thing" Patrick and SpongeBob are watching TV and the music for the show plays again, with Patrick saying he thinks he seen this before and this part is real funny.
- In "Bubble Buddy Returns", Bubble Buddy returns. Mr. Krabs (unsurprisingly) recalls that Bubble Buddy still owes him money.
- In "Whelk Attack", SpongeBob remembers the time that he got "suds".
- In "Born Again Krabs", Mr.Krabs is going to be thrown into Davy Jones locker with his gym socks. In SpongeBob vs. The big one The Flying Dutchman locks him self in there by accident and the actor Davy Jones throws the socks at him.
- Convection, Schmonvection: Averted when Mr. Sun lights the room on fire.
- Courtroom Episode: "Plankton vs. Krabs"
- The Cover Changes The Species: For the movie, Motorhead re-recorded one of their older tracks, "You Better Run," with new sea lyrics as "You Better Swim."
- Cowboy Episode: "Pest of the West"
- Crack Defeat: In the episode 'The Great Snail Race' had SpongeBob, Squidward, and Patrick's pet snails (Gary, Snellie, and Rocky respectively)pitting against each other. Snellie, who is a pure-breed snail, would've won, but she forfeited and comforted an overworked Gary. So the winner? Rocky! It needs to be said that Rocky was an actual rock. How it legitimately got to the finish line was never explained.
- Crap Saccharine World: Depending on the Writer, but Bikini Bottom definitely fits the bill in certain episodes.
- Crazy Consumption: Squidward eats Krabby Patties until he blows up.
- Cringe Comedy: The later seasons tend to rely on this.
- Crossover: Patchy the Pirate appears in the Big Time Rush special "Big Time Beach Party".
- Cross-Popping Veins: Squidward does it towards the end of both "Tentacle-Vision" and "Squid's Visit".
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Plankton. He is a scientific genius, capable of creating time machines and the like, (among other things that could be tweaked to benefit all ocean life) and yet he insists on working his way up to the top by running a dingy restaurant whose food is Human Resources. Oh, and trying to steal the Krabby Patty recipe, despite the fact that as long as Krabs is also in business, he'll get all the customers because of the aforementioned dinginess of his restaurant. This was worked around in Plan Z, which would have worked if he had tried this ingenious plan from the beginning, before Krabs hired SpongeBob, instead of using countless plans that were doomed to fail.
- Dance Sensation: "The Sponge". Everybody besides SpongeBob and Pearl get mangled up badly, and all while a peppy rock song is playing!
- The Danza: In "Mermaid Man Begins", the real names of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are revealed to be Ernie and Tim. Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are voiced by Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway, respectively.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Implied for Mrs. Puff.
- Darker and Edgier: The Movie, and several episodes focusing on Plankton and Squidward.
- The series as a whole starting in season four.
- Dead Man's Chest: "The Nasty Patty".
- Deadpan Snarker: Squidward and Karen. Big time. They're both a lot smarter than the people they routinely have to deal with, and respond to the stupidity of those around them with sarcasm. In Squidward's case, he's perpetually depressed, so his sense of humor is extremely dry as a result. Mr. Krabs and Sandy also have their moments— in fact, the only major characters who aren't sardonic with at least some sort of regularity are SpongeBob and Patrick.
- Delayed Reaction: Happens a lot.
- From 'The Great Snail Race':
Squidward: For the Bikini Bottom Snail Race. Snellie will be winning this Sunday.
- Also in 'Ghost Host', where a customer falls asleep on a mattress being sold to him. The Flying Dutchman comes in and tries to scare the sleeping dude, but no matter how much he tries, he won't wake up. Only when The Flying Dutchman gave up and the salesman has come back already did the customer wake up and scream in terror.
- Delicious Fruit Pies: Parodied in "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob", with the "Krusty Kids Meal" commercial at the beginning of the episode.
Man Ray: How can I be evil with flavors this good?
- Demoted to Extra: Sandy, and almost anyone who isn't the Krusty Krew, Patrick, Plankton or Karen.
- Depending on the Writer: A lot of the character interpretations are rather inconsistent between episode to episode. SpongeBob can be a sweet natured albeit naive Ditz or an arrogant, idiotic Butt Monkey, Squidward tends to vacillate between being a complete Jerkass and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Sandy can be a multitalented voice of reason or a rowdy Ted Baxter while Mr. Krabs can be a greedy yet somewhat well intentioned Pointy-Haired Boss or a borderline Monster in his money lust.
- Lampshaded in one episode:
Squidward: Patrick, just how dumb are you?
- Whether Squidward or Squilliam wins at the end of their episodes also varies.
- Usually the character interpretations fall on who the character in focus is. If the focus is Squidward's life being ruined, then SpongeBob and Patrick will have nothing bad happen to them, while when the focus is instead SpongeBob having a problem, everything bad will instead happen to him, usually caused by Patrick.
- Deranged Animation: Most episodes at some point.
- Destructive Saviour: In "Wormy", SpongeBob and Patrick sound the alarm about a monster (actually a butterfly) and send the entire city in a panic that causes far more destruction than the "monster" would have ever caused.
- On the episode "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm", SpongeBob and Sandy managed to drive a giant worm away as it fell down a large cliff. However, at the same time the citizens of Bikini Bottom were pushing the city somewhere else in an attempt to get away from the previously mentioned worm and the city ended up at the bottom of the cliff that the worm fell in and so the giant worm landed on top of Bikini Bottom, destroying it.
- Detached Sleeves: SpongeBob.
- Disney Dog Fight: SpongeBob thinks that Gary had left him forever to live with Patrick, but at the end he comes back to SpongeBob.
- Disproportionate Retribution: According to "Good Ol' Whatshisname", the standard punishment for wallet theft is 10 years of incarceration.
- The Ditz:
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: From the second season and onward.
SpongeBob: (To Squidward, referring to a paper figure of them playing leapfrog) "This time you're on the top and I'm on the bottom!"
- The episode "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve" where SpongeBob and Patrick raise a baby oyster to adulthood.
- In "Gary Takes a Bath", SpongeBob paints the bathtub like a treasure chest, which he leads Gary to as if on a treasure hunt. SpongeBob hands Gary bars of soap, calling them doubloons, then promptly warns Gary not to drop them.
- This exchange in "Grandma's Kisses":
Patrick: Then you get behind her and I'll push!
- There's also in the beginning of the episode "Your Shoe's Untied", where SpongeBob was watching a live-action sea anemone gyrating (thus implying that he was watching porn) until Gary meows, startling SpongeBob -- who promptly changes the channel, claiming he was looking for football and admonishing Gary for telling lies.
- The ending of "The Fry Cook Games":
Patrick: You know, these were white when I bought them. *He is wearing yellow underwear.*
- Downer Ending: Quite a few episodes, for the laughs.
- Dreadful Musician: Squidward, at least according to everyone in Bikini Bottom.
- Drives Like Crazy: SpongeBob. A Running Gag throughout the series, and THE source of Mrs. Puff's stress.
- Ironically, SpongeBob can drive everything (a rock, a giant Krabby Patty, a unicycle) but a boat. Except when blindfolded. When blindfolded, he can drive a boat perfectly.
- Driving Test: SpongeBob's taken the test countless times.
- Drunk on Milk: In The Movie, where SpongeBob and Patrick get drunk off sundaes.
- SpongeBob orders "A shot...of milk, two percent" at the Krusty Kantina, to which Squidward replies, "Think you can handle it?"
- Dude, Not Funny: In-Universe example: During "Fools in April", Squidward gets fed up with SpongeBob's constant pranks, and decides to get revenge. He ends up taking his prank overboard, and ends up making him run out crying. The customers don't take kindly at all. However, their offended reaction to the prank was revealed to be just acting for ANOTHER April Fools joke.
- Dumb and Drummer: Patrick is the drummer for SpongeBob and the Hi-Seas.
- Dumbass Has a Point: One particular episode, where Squidward gets his clarinet reed stuck in his throat, Partick actually says something smart, and everybody is surprised.
- Dumb Muscle: Patrick has been shown on a few occasions to be fairly strong, though this is especially prominent in the games. He's not exactly the smartest guy around, either.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The movie, (which is said to be the Grand Finale of the series) features this for the main characters.
- Earpiece Conversation: Patrick coaches SpongeBob through his boating test with a walkie-talkie hidden under a cowboy hat. Mrs. Puff compliments SpongeBob on his improvement, joking that it's as if someone were telling him all the answers. But when she mentions that that would be cheating, SpongeBob freaks out and confesses... and crashes the boat, failing the test once again.
- Easy Amnesia: Played with in "Missing Identity", where SpongeBob suffers a "horrific incident of terror", yet came out alright -- it was a missing nametag that drove the plot. For "WhoBob WhatPants", the creators intentionally revisited the idea to play it straight.
- Efficient Displacement: Quite a few times, but Patrick has done this more than once, especially combined with There Was a Door.
- Either or Title: All episodes have title cards, but some are presented within Patchy specials, most of which have titles themselves: "Shanghaied" is part of "You Wish" or "Patchy's Pick", "Party Pooper Pants" is part of "SpongeBob SquarePants House Party", "Ugh" is part of "SpongeBob SquarePants B.C. (Before Comedy)", "The Sponge Who Could Fly" is part of "SpongeBob SquarePants Lost Episode", and "Truth or Square" is part of "Patchy the Pirate's SpongeBob SquarePants Fan Club Big Time Impressive Celebratory Television Extravaganza!" Similarly, two episodes have Special Edition Titles that rename the show: "Christmas Who?" is The SpongeBob Christmas Special and "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?" is WhoBob WhatPants.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Monster Who Came to Bikini Bottom.
- What Puffy Fluffy turns into
- Played for Laughs in "Wormy". Everyone thinks that the butterfly is one, until Sandy returns.
- Electric Jellyfish: The show's jellyfish are, although they're described as stinging. They've even burned several characters.
- Embarrassing First Name: Sheldon J. Plankton
- Enemy Mine: Mr. Krabs and Plankton in 'Best Frenemies'.
- SpongeBob and Squidward too on occasion, even though they're not technically enemies.
- Episode Title Card
- Even Bad Men Love Their Grandmamas: Plankton
- Even Beggars Won't Choose It: A guy who hasn't eaten for days crawls into the Krusty Krab begging for food, but when he gets offered some he rejects it because the Krusty Krab lacks "pizazz." He then crawls away still begging for food... service... atmosphere!
- Even Evil Has Standards: Mr. Krabs' greed is so bad, that even Plankton is shown to be disgusted by it. Quoted by him, "And I thought I was evil."
- Squidward, although not evil, is a notorious Jerkass who hates SpongeBob with a passion. Even so, he was absolutely disgusted when Mr. Krabs sold SpongeBob's soul to the Flying Dutchman for pocket change.
- Another Squidward example happens in an episode where he and SpongeBob go on a pizza delivery. After the customer refused to accept the pizza, SpongeBob goes into a depression. Squidward, who usually enjoys seeing SpongeBob's misery, actually feels sorry for him, goes up to the customer, and slams the pizza into his face.
- Even the Guys Want Him: When Squidward got his face reconstructed after getting in the way while SpongeBob was opening a door.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Parodied in the episode "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V," which ends with every character featured on the episode laughing one after another, even characters with no reason to laugh, such as Manray and the Dirty Bubble, who are in prison, even though the only "joke" was that Barnacle Boy couldn't finish his Krabby Patty.
- Subverted in a much later episode, "Spongicus". SpongeBob, Patrick, Krabs, and Squidward begin laughing as the music cue signals the end of the episode, but the scene continues. One by one, the characters get bored, stop laughing, and walk away.
- Also parodied in an episode in with the laughter is broken by an unexpected, angry attack from the sky c/o Sandy.
- Everything Explodes Ending: "Dying For Pie" ends with the exploding pie completely destroying Bikini Bottom, using Stock Footage from the Bikini Island nuclear tests to represent said explosion.
- Everything Is Big in Texas: Sandy.
- Everything's Better with Chocolate: Taken to aN all-time extreme.
Tom: CHOCOLATE!? Did you say...CHOCOLATE!? CHOCOLAAAATTTTE!!!! CHOCOLAAAATTTTE!!!! CHOCOLAAAATTTTE!!!!
- Evil Is Dumb
- Evil Versus Evil: Krabs versus Plankton (in newer episodes).
- Expanded Universe
- Extreme Doormat: SpongeBob in some episodes, most notably "Walking Small". As Plankton puts it, "he's like stairs", and the ending (in which he literally becomes a volleyball for the whole beach to use) proves how much he really does care about others. Unless the episode calls for otherwise, anyway.
- Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: "Maniac strikes Bikini Bottom! City paralyzed with fear!"
- Eye Scream: Crops up a number of times.
Tattle-Tale Strangler: Get your feet out of my eye sockets! [screaming]
- Also in the episode where the krusty Krab gets a claw machine (which squidward fails at) and therefore cant pick anything up- so while watching tv- and cant pick up the remote- he changes the channel WITH HIS EYE- then proceeds to scream.
- Eye Shock: Usually to either SpongeBob, Patrick, or Squidward.
- The nerve of that guy and his driving eyeballs!
- Face Heel Turn: Barnacle Man in "Super Friends".
- Fan of the Underdog: SpongeBob and Patrick seem to be the only entities in Bikini Bottom that actually like Squidward and consider him as wonderful and talented a being as he himself believes he is. Unfortunately their stupidity and clinginess still manages to cause him as much suffering and pain as everyone else's harshness.
- Fantastic Racism: Played for laughs when SpongeBob became a lifeguard:
SpongeBob: There are sharks in the water!
- Also parodied in "Squirrel Jokes"
- From SpongeBob reading the dumpster writing in Sailor Mouth: "'Nematodes are people too!' (Dismissively) HA! Those nematodes!" Just replace nematodes with any minority group in the world and see how bad a person you suddenly feel.
- Fantasy Twist: SpongeBob fantasizes about what his life would be like if he had muscles. It turns out to be exactly the same as it is now, but with muscles.
- Far Side Island: On the surface.
- Fat Best Friend: Patrick.
- Faux Horrific: A few times, like with Wormy.
- Feud Episode: Squidward gets SpongeBob and Patrick to stop being friends by sending them each his own makeshift bubblegrams. Once Squidward realizes what he did when both ex-friends want him to be his friend, he comes up with a plan to get them to be friends again.
- The Film of the Book: The episode "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?" is based on the Tie-in Novel For the Love of Bubbles.
- Fire-Breathing Diner: Patrick launches hot marshmallows on Squidward when camping.
- Flanderization: Many of the main characters since The Movie. SpongeBob has gone from a naive Genius Ditz to a frequent carrier of the Idiot Ball, Patrick has become an extreme example of The Ditz, Mr. Krabs's obsession with money has become his only defining trait, Mrs. Puff has become a Sadist Teacher with an intense hatred for SpongeBob, and Squidward's Butt Monkey status has become full-blown Disproportionate Retribution (though Squidward himself hasn't been Flanderized, since he was a Jerkass since day one...)
- Another thing that has been flanderized about Patrick is his snaggletoothed grin, in the early seasons he very rarely used it, in the later episodes he does this all the time to the point where it's practically his default smile.
- Gary and Sandy suffer highly inconsistent Flanderization Depending on the Writer. Gary can act as a normal pet or be several times as intelligent as most of the cast around him while Sandy can be an insane Ted Baxter or a walking embodiment of Positive Discrimination.
- Any and all aspects of Sandy's older "tough cow-girl" traits seem to have been completely removed until the episode "Rodeo Daze" in favor of her knack for building inventions...something she did ONE TIME in the first season.
- Flat Character: Princess Mindy in The Movie. If you think about it, she's really not much more than a plot device. Her only contributions to the story were to be a love interest for Patrick, stop her father from killing Mr. Krabs, give SpongeBob and Patrick their "mustaches", and stall her father long enough for SpongeBob to come back with the crown.
- Flashback Cut: In "The Bully"
SpongeBob: Hi, I'm SpongeBob!
- Flaying Alive: Surprisingly frequent.
- Flexing Those Non-Biceps: Anchor Arms, which look nothing like balloons worn over SpongeBob's arms.
- Advertiser selling Anchor Arms: "Now I'm a jerk and everybody loves me!"
- Flintstone Theming: Nearly everything is replaced by its underwater equivalent.
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: "Patrick Smartpants"
- Food and Animal Attraction: Gary the snail gets really affectionate towards Patrick over the cookies in his pocket.
- The Fool: SpongeBob (sometimes) and Patrick.
- Forgot to Pay the Bill: Subverted. SpongeBob thinks Gary did this when the electricity goes out, but it was actually caused by the Blue Jellyfish cutting the wires.
- For Inconvenience Press One: During a robot invasion.
- Formally-Named Pet: Mr. Puffy Fluffy.
- For the Evulz: "One Coarse Meal"
- Four-Temperament Ensemble
- SpongeBob: Sanguine
- Patrick: Phlegmatic
- Squidward: Melancholic
- Sandy: Choleric
- Freak-Out: Most of the characters have this at least once.
- Funny Animal: Nearly everyone.
- Fun with Acronyms: Every Villain Is Lemons. "Otherwise known as EVIL."
- Fun with Flushing: SpongeBob and Patrick hear a story about a drain that two kids pulled long ago and that flushed away all of Bikini Bottom. They become obsessed with finding "The Big Drain" and making sure no one pulls it again. They do pull it but then it turns out to have been All Just a Dream.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Sandy.
- Gagging on Your Words: Squidward has a hard time saying "I'm sorry" to SpongeBob. So hard, in fact, that at one point his head explodes.
- Gainax Ending: In-universe: "I Had An Accident"'s ending results in a family staring through their TV at you in disbelief, shaking their heads, and turning it off.
- Geographic Flexibility: Bikini Bottom is shown to be this. In most episodes it's a typical small town, but other episodes have shown that it contains a mall, a racetrack, and an Olympic stadium, among other things.
- Get It Off Me!: Several examples:
- In one episode a sheet of paper adheres itself to SpongeBob's face the moment he walks out of his house and he panics, crying "Get it off of me!"
- In another, Patrick is swarmed by musical notes (It Makes Sense in Context) and yells "Get'em off me! Get'em off me!"
- In yet another, Squidward gets a gelatinous mass of eyes and tentacles deposited on his head and reacts accordingly.
- Get Out!: Squidward shouts this to Spongebob and/or Patrick in several instances.
- In "Ghost Host", SpongeBob angrily shouts this to the Flying Dutchman's rambunctious ghost friends as he kicks them out of his house.
- In "Who R Zoo?", the zookeeper shouts this at SpongeBob when he bans him from the zoo for risking his own life with the animals one too many times.
"OUT, I SAY!!!"
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: An ENTIRE PAGE WORTH OF IT!
- Giftedly Bad: Squidward is not as good at music as he thinks he is.
- Gilligan Cut: In the episode "Idiot Box", Squidward doesn't understand why the cardboard box will make noises for SpongeBob and Patrick.
Squidward: Why won’t this thing turn on? All right, fine. If you don’t want to show me, I don’t care! I've got better things to do than pace the floor wondering how you two work this thing. (Cut to Squidward pacing the length of his living room floor) How do those two work that thing?! There's got to be a secret button or a switch or something!
- Ambulance Cut: Subverted temporarily in the episode "Born Again Krabs". Mr. Krabs prepares to take a bite out of an old, filthy, tainted patty. Just as he is about to bite down on it, the shot cuts to an ambulance, implying that Krabs was now being rushed to the hospital. As it turns out, the ambulance was only passing by the Krusty Krab.
Mr. Krabs: Oh, look. An ambulance. Now then, where was I? (He takes a bite out of the patty, and the Trope is played straight afterwards.)
- Glass-Shattering Sound: In "Life of Crime", when Patrick screams "WE STOLE A BALLOON!!!", all the windows in the area shatter completely.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: You shouldn't be surprised if SpongeBob invites even Plankton to one of his parties.
- Mr. Krabs and Plankton have also played poker every Tuesday night for years.
- Good Guy Bar: The Weenie Hut.
- Good Times Montage: F.U.N. That is all. Also the montage of playing with Wormy.
- Grand Finale: Word of God has confirmed that, no matter what happens in the show or how long it goes on, the movie is the series finale.
- Gross-Out Show: Many of the newer episodes venture into how-disgusting-can-we-make-it territory.
- Gross Up Close-Up: "The Nasty Patty," "To Love a Patty," and a lot more episodes.
- Ha Ha Ha No: Mrs. Puff in Wishing You Well, when SpongeBob asks if he can take a ride in her new hot rod.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Squidward.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Patrick's sister, Sam. The episode even gives us this exchange:
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Many of the characters in the show, such as Patrick and Squidward.
- Halloween Episode: "Scaredy Pants".
- Hammerspace: In episode "Fear of a Krabby Patty," a frantic, delusional SpongeBob gives Plankton just enough time to squeak out, "Hey where'd you get that piano?" Just before, well, you know.
- Plankton did one of these himself in a much earlier episode, "Plankton!", offering SpongeBob a golden spatula in an attempt to get a Krabby Patty from him. "I've been keeping it in my...secret compartment. SHING! Sparkle-sparkle."
- In "FUN", he hid the Krabby Patty (which is bigger than his body) in his pocket.
- Hands Go Down: From "Band Geeks":
Patrick: Is mayonnaise an instrument?
- Hanlon's Razor: Played rather straight with SpongeBob, he can get away with all kinds of travesties he commits on others, so long as he means well in his actions. Patrick fits the bill most of the time as well.
- Hard Work Montage: One such montage actually gets an introduction.
- Hates Baths: An episode is devoted to SpongeBob trying to get Gary to take a bath and failing.
- Healing Factor: SpongeBob can repeatedly rip off his own arms, and they will sprout back in the same scene with no problems and no pain. May also explain the various Amusing Injuries. In fact, considering the supporting cast includes a starfish, a crab and a(n alleged) squid, this trope is Justified.
- Word of God confirms that Squidward is in fact an octopus. In a commentary on The Movie DVD, he says that calling him "Octo-ward" didn't sound right, it was too difficult to animate him with eight legs, and early drafts that gave him the ability to produce ink...just didn't look right.
- SpongeBob's healing factor is so powerful that there are several gags involving Spong Bob's arms or legs being ripped or broken off. One hilarious example is in the episode "The Graveyard Shift", where Mr. Krabs decides that the Krusty Krab will be open 24 hours a day. So Squidward and SpongeBob are stuck there all night. To pass the time, Squidward tells a scary story about the "Hash-Slinging Slasher". SpongeBob bites his nails...then chews his fingers off...then his arms are being fed into his Buzzsaw Jaw as soon as they regenerate...and then he eats a bucket of his arms like a bucket of popcorn.
- I Thought Everyone Could Do That: When Squidward gets to the part where the Hash-Slinging Slasher cut off his own hand, SpongeBob doesn't react. In fact, he even demonstrates. Then Squidward explains that it didn't grow back, and suddenly SpongeBob is terrified.
- Heel Face Revolving Door: Man Ray.
- Heroic BSOD: Mr. Krabs in "One Krab's Trash"
- Or Villainous Breakdown, depending on how you see Mr. Krabs.
- He has another one in the episode where he escapes death, vows to turn over a new leaf, and thinks his massive generosity and debt is all a dream and he's still in the hospital. And then SpongeBob and Squidward tell him he checked out of the hospital and here's the bill.
- Squidward also gets one near the end of "Squid's Visit".
- SpongeBob gets one in Krusty Dogs when Mr. Krabs removes Krabby Patties from the menu.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: SpongeBob and Patrick; but Word of God has it that SpongeBob is, in fact, Asexual.
- Hook Hand: Patchy the Pirate.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: The "Cyclops" in the movie.
- Hypocritical Humor: Uses this from time to time.
- From 'Hooky':
- From 'Pressure', while SpongeBob and the others were laughing at Sandy's failed attempt to breathe underwater:
Mr. Krabs: I knew it! There was no way some "airhead" was gonna win anything against a water breather!
- Same episode, while Sandy is telling the other four to go on dry land already :
Sandy: Well? So are you going or not?
- From "Party Pooper Pants", while Patchy remarks that he hopes SpongeBob received his invitation for his party:
Patchy: Welcome! Say, you didn't bring SpongeBob with you, did you? I sure hope he got his invitation. (cut to SpongeBob and Patrick)
- From 'Squilliam Returns', when Squidward told SpongeBob to empty his mind and his mind has various SpongeBobs emptying his mind literally:
SpongeBob # 1: Hurry up! What do you think I'm paying you for?
- Patrick in "I'm With Stupid", after trying to convince his parents that SpongeBob is an idiot to outshadow his own idiotic tendencies, only for his own stupidity to convince him that SpongeBob really is an idiot, leading him to insult and talk down on him in the most condescending manner, ultimately leading to:
Patrick: Oh, SpongeBob. Dumb people are always blissfully unaware to how dumb they really are... (Stares vacantly and drools)
- And it's revealed in the end the couple Patrick introduced to SpongeBob weren't Patrick's parents but the three stars were too dumb to notice until the real parents appeared.
- From "The Camping Episode"
Squidward That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard!
- From "Mermaid Man Begins":
SpongeBob and Patrick: Squidward! Squidward! Let us in! We're missing the Mermaid Man marathon!
- There was also one from the episode " Big Sister Sam". Go above to see it.
- Identical Stranger: In "No Weenies Allowed": a sponge identical to SpongeBob only with dark hair and the real deal (wearing a Rainbow Clown Wig) both appear at the Salty Spittoon at the same time.
- Idiot Hero: SpongeBob.
- Idiot Houdini: SpongeBob and Patrick rely more and more on this trope as the seasons pass.
- Idiotic Partner Confession: SpongeBob does this in an episode called "Shanghaied"
- If I Had a Nickel: "If I had a dollar for every brain you don't have...I'd have one dollar."
- I'm Not a Doctor But I Play One on TV: Parodied in "All That Glitters":
Doctor: Oh, I'm not a doctor, I'm an actor who's searching for a role. Yes! Woohoo! I am so totally gonna get this part. (gives a sigh of relief)
- Impossibly Delicious Food: Krabby Patties, to the point where conflicts can be resolved merely by eating one.
- Incessant Music Madness: In "Jellyfish Jam", SpongeBob and a jellyfish keep Squidward up all night playing loud music. When more jellyfish show up and play the music even louder, Squidward has had enough and counterattacks by playing his clarinet. This angers the jellyfish, and when SpongeBob's pleas to stop result in Squidward playing even louder, the jellyfish goes over to Squidward's and stings him.
- Incredibly Lame Fun: SpongeBob and Patrick once play a game that consists of doing, well, whatever non-sequitur goes through their minds, like climbing a coral to make bubbles to determine a chess move, and make that move by blowing at the chess piece.
- There's another scene where Mr. Krabs hangs out with SpongeBob and Patrick because he feels old. They end up going to the laundromat, reading at the library, sitting in a kiddie pool, et cetera. Subverted at the end when they suggest a panty raid. THAT is subverted when it turns out to be Mr. Krabs's mother's undergarments...
- SpongeBob and Patrick once buy a large TV so they can play inside the box. They use their imagination to enjoy it so much, Squidwards wants in.
- Subverted on another occasion, SpongeBob gets a "useless" piece of paper from Squidward and then uses it to play all sort of games and use it to swim/fly around.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: SpongeBob and Patrick argue back and forth with these in Pranks-A-Lot, until they are interrupted with the narrator saying "Several bad puns later...".
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Plankton.
- Ink Suit Actor:
- Mrs. Puff's actress is Mrs. Puff if she weren't an anthropomorphic fish.
- Flats the Flounder is the same character he played in another movie. By the amount of times he says butt in the episode, you can tell he wants to add 'head' to the end of it. Flats's voice actor also voices the impostor father of Patrick in one episode. Add the irony of that character being called Marty...
- And have you seen Mermaid Man?
- Inner Monologue Conversation: In "Big Pink Loser", Patrick is imitating everything SpongeBob says and does. SpongeBob thinks (At least I'm safe inside my mind), then hears Patrick thinking the same thing.
- Innocently Insensitive: SpongeBob and occasionally Patrick have moments of this, especially around Squidward. Case in point this compliment to Squidward's clarinet playing, said with completely sincere enthusiasm:
SpongeBob: Bravo, Squidward! And all those wrong notes made it sound unique.
- Innocent Swearing: In "Sailor Mouth", SpongeBob and Patrick read a bad word written in a trash bin and start using it. Patrick claims it's a "sentence enhancer".
- Insistent Terminology: King Neptune is not bald, he is thinning.
- Insufferable Genius: Sandy and, in one episode, Patrick.
- Interspecies Adoption: One episode focuses on SpongeBob and Patrick adopting a baby scallop and taking care of it. The sight of a male sponge and male starfish being parents to a scallop leaves other citizens of Bikini Bottom a little more than confused on how it's even possible.
- Invisible Streaker: In "Pranks a Lot," SpongeBob and Patrick.
- Iron Butt Monkey: Squidward and Plankton.
- When he's not the one causing the abuse, SpongeBob himself.
- Ironic Echo: In One Krab's Trash. Krabs goes to the cemetery to find Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen's grave and take back his hat. He sees Squidward laying down flowers on a grave, which reads "Here Lies Squidward's Hopes and Dreams." Krabs remarks "what a baby." Later, when Krabs finds out that the hat is now worthless, he breaks down in tears, and a flower carrying Squidward walks in the background, pausing to say "what a baby."
- It Tastes Like Feet: When Squidward is subbing for SpongeBob at the Krusty Krab grill.
Customer #1: You call this food? My sandwich tastes like a fried boot!
- And in "Whale of a Birthday", when Pearl's friends drink from the punch bowl...
Pearl's Friend: Ew, it tastes like dishwater!
- Its Pronounced Tropay: "I love kara-TAY!"
- Subverted in that it's actually closer to how it's properly pronounced in Japanese (kah-rah-teh).
- I Will Tear Your Arms Off: Man Ray threatens to do this to SpongeBob if the latter doesn't release him. And later to Patrick if he wouldn't take back his wallet.
- Jerkass: Practically everyone in the show at some time or the other, with Mr. Krabs and Squidward being the most prominent examples.
- In "Keep Bikini Bottom Clean," a cop follows Squidward around and continuously slams tickets into his face for even being near a pile of garbage.
- Patrick becomes one of these any time he gets a taste of power or some sort of reassurance of his "genius" abilities. (The episode where he gets a boat, when he becomes king, the time when his parents come over, etc.) Any other time, he's just The Ditz taken to its Logical Extreme.
- Jerkass Gods: Neptune, usually
- Especially in "The Clash Of Triton" where he traps his son in a cage for wanting to meddle in the lives of mortals instead of smiting them, but he gets better.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Arguably Squidward and Mr. Krabs on their better days.
- The Jimmy Hart Version: The techno song from "Jellyfish Jam" is very similar to the NBA song "Get Ready For This." Here's a comparison of the two.
- Lampshaded by one Krusty Krab customer, who, upon hearing a Jimmy Hart Version of a song, said, "I hated the REAL version of this song".
- The depressing song, Daytime Drama in the episode "Dumped" is in comparison with this more upbeat counterpart.
- The title card for "Hall Monitor" has similarities to the theme for the late '60s/early '70s action show The Mod Squad.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: The dream version in the episode "Sleepy Time." Naturally, SpongeBob managed to ruin the dreams of everyone in Bikini Bottom, and he awoke to find a group of annoyed friends and neighbors, insisting he stay out of their dreams because they get enough of him during the day.
- Jump Scare "Hi, mailman!"
- Just Friends: SpongeBob apparently has a crush on Sandy. This isn't very noticeable within the show itself, but supplemental materials place special emphasis on it. A survival guide released in 2002 played with the fact, hinting at the crush being "secret".
- Sandy's official biography states that she "is the only thing under the sea that SpongeBob likes better than his job at the Krusty Krab."
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: The uncut version of "Just One Bite", featuring Squidward catching on fire (twice) when underestimating the deceptively primitive Krusty Krab security system. Only the edited version made it to DVD, with this scene removed.
- Keet: SpongeBob
- Kids Prefer Boxes: "Idiot Box" revolved around SpongeBob ordering a giant screen television... simply so that he and Patrick could have the box to play in.
- Kill It with Fire: In the castaway episode.
- Kitschy Local Commercial: When Mr. Krabs decides to make a commercial for the Krusty Krab, Squidward initially goes all out to make it as extravagant as possible. Krabs then decides it's too much and goes for a cheesy commercial on at 3AM.
- Knight Templar: Mr. Krabs's increasingly less provoked antagonism towards his rival Plankton. While in early episodes, Krabs was interested solely in protecting his own business from the latter's villainous tactics, he became more obsessed in actively destroying any minor success or happiness Plankton achieved out of spite, via unscrupulous methods or not. On occasion Krabs is shown to take offense when Plankton merely isn't suicidally miserable. SpongeBob often plays a role in this as well, albeit due to his naivete and on-off friendship with Plankton, likely more as a blind follower of Krabs than out of spite.
- Lampshade Hanging: The series features phenomena impossible in its underwater setting, like fire, and the characters comment on this.
- "Hey, if we're underwater, then how can there be a-" *fire extinguishes*
- In one episode, a tree is shown wearing scuba gear.
- In "Chimps Ahoy", Sandy's bosses come to visit her and check on her scientific progress. One points out that sending scientists underwater to live in Treedomes for no reason doesn't really make much sense.
- Then there's the infamous episode where SpongeBob breaks his butt and becomes agoraphobic. After several attempts to get SpongeBob outside, a gorilla suddenly attacks Patrick, Sandy, and SpongeBob, who points out the absurdity of having a gorilla underwater. Unable to explain itself, the gorilla rides off on a zebra into the sunset. The last shot is a family watching the episode, being just as confused as we are.
- In "Squilliam Returns" SpongeBob has to forget everything he knows except fine dining. This is visualised by little SpongeBobs in his brain shredding documents, burning them, etc. One of them asks his boss why he should work harder, as they're just "...a clever visual metaphor used to personify the abstract concept of thought." When the boss then threatens to fire said worker he's begging for him not to, because he has wife and kids. Which kind of qualifies as a lampshade hung onto a lampshade.
- Last Day to Live: Inverted -- the titular sponge is thought to have unknowingly eaten a deadly pie, which will end his life at sunset. Squidward, responsible for bringing a pie-shaped bomb to SpongeBob, feels guilty enough to spend the rest of the day doing anything SpongeBob wants. It's eventually revealed that SpongeBob never ate the bomb-pie, but rather a different pie. He saved the bomb, which he promptly trips and thus throws into Squidward's face, producing a nuclear blast.
- Laughably Evil: Dennis, Plankton's Assassin from The Movie, is downright sadistic and threatening. He's also very entertaining to watch due to his over-the-top nature and constant Evil Laugh.
- Laugh with Me: A variation. The Flying Dutchman take SpongeBob and Patrick onboard as his crew. When he demands that they "howl with me, that we might set the seven seas, ABLAZE with fear!", they comply with various ridiculous noises, until he finally gives up on making them scary.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Squidward complains, "Why must every 11 minutes of my life be filled with misery?"
- From "Nature Pants":
Sandy: I give him a week.
- After SpongeBob finishes a long-winded narrative about how he once "lost his identity", a waitress at the bar he was sitting in observes, "Well, you managed to kill 11 minutes."
- "Normal" SpongeBob: "One more thing, Squidward, you don't wear pants."
- Squidward: "Why must every 11 minutes of my life be filled with torture."
- From "Planet of the Jellyfish":
Mr. Krabs: What happened?
- Let Me Tell You a Story: Mr. Krabs' story to SpongeBob about spending a dollar on a soda to persuade SpongeBob to let his seahorse go.
- Let's Have Another Baby: Patrick says this to SpongeBob after they take care of a baby scallop.
- Light Bulb Joke: The basis of many of SpongeBob's "squirrel jokes" stand-up.
SpongeBob: How come it takes more than one squirrel to screw in a lightbulb?
- Line-of-Sight Name: When the Flying Dutchman comes for Mr. Krabs' soul in the hospital, Mr. Krabs insists that he is "Harold Flower", after the flower on the end table.
- Little-Known Facts: Patrick Star comes up with loads of these, usually in The Blind Leading the Blind situations with SpongeBob. They both believe them.
- Literal Junk Food: In the episode "Just One Patty", Squidward is desperately trying to get a Krabby Patty without anyone finding out, going so far as to say that he'll even eat one off the garbage. Sure enough, a customer throws away his patty and Squidward dives right in. He ends up eating everything except the patty.
- Lost Him in a Card Game: Mr. Krabs lost SpongeBob to Plankton.
- Loud of War: There's a jellyfish party at SpongeBob's that's been going for 18 hours that annoys Squidward, so he turns his house towards SpongeBob's and plays his clarinet through full-blast speakers. The jellyfish are not happy.
- MacGuffin: The Secret Formula, arguably.
- Mad Scientist: Plankton
- Make-Out Point: "Ah, makeout reef. Good times. Gooood times."
- Marshmallow Dream: SpongeBob dreams of eating Krabby Patties and wakes up chewing on his pillow.
- Also referred to on "Sleepy Time". When SpongeBob meets Gary in the dreamworld, the now erudite Gary tries to explain to him the concept of dreams as a view to another world. When an Emily Dickinson poem goes over SB's head, Gary recites one more his speed: "There once was an old man from Peru; Who dreamed he was eating his shoe; He woke with a fright; In the middle of the night; To find that his dream had come true".
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Sandy and SpongeBob.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover:
- The Nicktoons Unite! series of video games. It's subject to the rule.
- Nicktoons MLB, which judging by reviews, doesn't suck.
- SpongeBob has a cameo in "Peter Kay's Animated All Star Band", a Children in Need music video crossing over many significant British Stop Motion cartoons, a few 2D British and American cartoons, and the live-action Teletubbies. (The reason for having a mere cameo is that the 2D shows only appear on TV screens to avoid major Medium Blending.)
- Meat-O-Vision: Subverted in "Fear of a Krabby Patty", where SpongeBob develops a fear of Krabby Patties, and sees Mr. Krabs and the customer as them.
- Medium Blending: Above the surface of the water, everything's in live-action.
- Merchandise-Driven: In-universe example in "The Krusty Sponge". When SpongeBob's cooking was the sole thing that saved Krabs from a bad review from a food critic, he exploits that for as much as possible with many SpongeBob-themed items, including the Spongy Patty... even though they were rotten.
- The Millstone: Patrick fits more than the usual. Whenever SpongeBob or anyone has a plan, Patrick is sure to screw it up, or do something stupid to make it worse.
- Mirror-Cracking Ugly: SpongeBob thought he was this, but it was just his reflection reacting to his smelly breath.
- Mismatched Eyes: Lord Royal Highness, the ruler of Atlantis, has one blue eye and one green eye. (This is a reference to his voice actor's anisocoria.)
- Missed the Bus: Rock Bottom. Full stop.
- Mock Cousteau: The Narrator.
- Mock Millionaire: Double subverted when Squilliam Fancyson pretends to be a Mock Millionaire to bait Squidward... only to finally reveal he actually is rich.
- Mondegreen: "Sweet Victory" from the episode "Band Geeks" has a few lyrics that are often misheard, specifically "the world closing in" being heard as "the wind closing in", "be on the attack with your wings in the wind" being heard as "the only attack with their wings in the wind", and "the games will begin" heard as "the daydream begins"
- Money Fetish: Mr. Krabs
Mr. Krabs: My whole life has been about money, saving money, collecting money... * rubs his fingers lustfully* touching money...
- Morning Routine: Many an episode begins with Songebob getting up to his blasting foghorn alarm clock and ready for work.
- The Movie: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. A second movie will be released in late 2014.
- Moving the Goalposts: Kevin's treatment of SpongeBob in "I'm Your Biggest Fanatic". SpongeBob is trying to get into the Jellyfishers' Club, but their leader Kevin keeps stringing him along with increasingly difficult tasks, at which SpongeBob succeeds with ease. When they finally come up with something sufficiently impossible, it winds up in Kevin being Hoist by His Own Petard as the fake "queen jellyfish" he creates attracts a real king jellyfish, and SpongeBob saves the day, revealing Kevin as a complete loser.
- Mr. Imagination: SpongeBob and Patrick create a world of scenarios with only a cardboard box in "The Idiot Box", much to Squidward's disbelief.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Mr. Krabs pre-Flanderization.
- Multiple Endings: "Shanghaied" has three (depending on whether SpongeBob, Patrick, or Squidward gets the third of Three Wishes), which viewers got to call in and choose between during the episode's premiere. Reruns of the episode show only the winning ending, though all three endings are available on some home video releases.
- Mundane Wish: The episode "Shanghaied" had Patrick waste the first wish the Flying Dutchman gave him and SpongeBob on wishing that he knew about the wishes earlier. In one of the alternate Multiple Endings, Patrick used the third and final wish on a pack of gum.
- Musical Episode: "Atlantis SquarePantis". It's justified (partially), though, in that Atlantean technology is powered by singing.
- My God, What Have I Done??: "What kind of monsters are we?..."
- My Master, Right or Wrong: SpongeBob, despite his occasional disgust at Mr. Krabs's actions and sympathy for the people he victimizes, (even Plankton), generally follows through with his plans blindly, either due to his blind idolization of his boss or the fact his dream job may be at stake otherwise.
- Naked People Are Funny: Pranking the town as ghosts with no clothes on, among other instances.
Tour Bus Driver: And if you look to your right, you'll see two naked guys fighting over a can of paint.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Jack M. Crazyfish. Tattletale Strangler, Flying Dutchman, Bubble Bass.
- The Napoleon: Plankton.
- Negative Continuity: Hoo boy. Except for Krusty Krab Training Video and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie being first and last in the series respectively (confirmed by Word of God), there's no revealed order or canon for any of the other episodes. Spongehenge, despite being in season five, must come before many other episodes because SpongeBob specifically says that he's never been late for work when in fact he has been in earlier episodes. Just One Bite (a season three episode) also must happen after many episodes in the series due to Squidward remarking multiple times that he doesn't eat at or like the food at the Krusty Krab.
- The show also ignores what it said earlier. In a recent episode, Patrick's sister comes by. All fine and good, except in a previous episode (previous being a LONG time ago), Patrick talks quickly about being ugly (his breath just stunk), and one of the things he says is "and if my sister finds out, oh wait I don't have a sister..."
- He states in the episode that she's his long lost sister who he just found out is still alive.
- The show also ignores what it said earlier. In a recent episode, Patrick's sister comes by. All fine and good, except in a previous episode (previous being a LONG time ago), Patrick talks quickly about being ugly (his breath just stunk), and one of the things he says is "and if my sister finds out, oh wait I don't have a sister..."
- Never Say "Die": Lampshaded in "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost": SpongeBob thinks he killed Squidward and says, "I don't know how to say this, but our friend Squidward, he's... pushing up daisies!" Patrick calmly replies: "Oh, I thought he was dead."
- "Dying For Pie" averts this trope, however.
- Averted once again with The Ugly Barnacle.
- Never Trust a Hair Tonic: In the movie, King Triton tries to use some hair tonic, but accidentally it gets into his eye. So his eyeballs grow hair.
- No Dialogue Episode: "Reef Blower", aside from one brief caption reading "You!".
- No Fourth Wall: Any episode involving Patchy the Pirate acknowledges that SpongeBob is a just a show. Other episodes do this as well, such as showing a live family reacting to the Mind Screw ending to the episode and shutting off the TV.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The episode "Can You Spare a Dime?" features Squidward quitting his job over a misunderstanding. When he ends up losing his house, SpongeBob selflessly takes him into his own home, and takes care of him. Squidward "thanks" him by becoming a freeloader, forcing SpongeBob to wait on him hand and foot.
- No Hero Discount:
Barnacle Boy: Listen, bignose. That guy's been saving your butt since before you were born. Don't you have a living legend discount or something?
- No Matter How Much I Beg: Trope Namer
- Non Sequitur:
- In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy", SpongeBob tries to get Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy out of the retirement home. He attempts to reason with them, then Mermaidman gets fed up with it and says the following:
Mermaidman: If you don't get out of here, then by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife!
- In "Boating School", during Spongebob's boating exam:
Mrs. Puff: Okay, SpongeBob, what's the first thing you do?
- Noodle Incident:
- "And that's the story of how I got my head stuck in the fry bed!"
- Whatever SpongeBob did at the Christmas party mentioned multiple times in the episode about Patrick's box.
- The time Mr. Krabs left SpongeBob alone at the Krusty Krab with a welding torch and rollerskates. This somehow ended with the Krusty Krab on fire.
- Honestly, other then the whole under water thing, you give someone with SpongeBobs personality type a welding torch and rollerblades, and it'd be weirder if the place DIDN'T burn down.
- Apparently, one time Patrick forgot how to eat and needed to be fed with a funnel. Another time, he ended up somehow choking on his remote control.
- No Party Like a Donner Party: Played with in "To Save A Squirrel".
- No Sense of Personal Space: SpongeBob (target: Squidward)
- This is even worse since he DOESN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT CLAUSTROPHOBIA IS:
Squidward: Can you back off? You're making me claustrophobic.
- Obstacle Ski Course: (While snowboarding, on a sand mound, using his tongue as board.)
- Off-Model: Happens frequently in season one. Squidward's head size often changes from shot to shot, and there is something "off" about SpongeBob's appearance during the first few minutes of "Tea at the Treedome".
- Ominous Music Box Tune: SpongeBob's "whistly holes".
- Ominous Pipe Organ: Heard in "Something Smells" when SpongeBob, convinced he's ugly, played a pipe organ in his house. Pipe organ motifs are also heard throughout "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost".
- One Mans Trash Is Anothers Treasure:... but for Mr. Krabs, all trash is treasure.
- One-Scene Wonder: The "DEEEUUAGH" fish, who shows up for about five seconds in "Something Smells", has spawned a meme.
- Probably one of the only shows to feature this for a location; Rock Bottom has only been visited in one episode from 2000, but a level based on it appears in almost every video game based on the series and has a roller coaster themed around it in the Mall of America. Rock Bottom later returned...almost two decades later, in 2017's "Out of the Picture".
- The One Who Wears Shoes: SpongeBob himself. Sandy's diving suit could also count.
- Gary wears little sneakers under his shell, as seen in "Your Shoe's Untied".
- Onion Tears: Three times in "My Pretty Seahorse".
- Also seen in "Something Smells" when SpongeBob chops onions for his sundae.
- Only Sane Man: Squidward and Sandy.
- SpongeBob sometimes. Notably when Patrick is a stupid jerk towards him.
- Strangely enough, Gary, who often proves that he's somewhat smarter than this owner.
- SpongeBob sometimes. Notably when Patrick is a stupid jerk towards him.
- Opening Shout-Out: Used in "Truth or Square". "Who lives in a rock on the sea floor? PATRICK STARFISH!"
- Opposite Day: The eponymous episode from season 1.
- Out of Focus: Sandy and Pearl don't appear as often in later seasons to the point where they are sometimes forgotten as characters. It's also driven to the point where they forgot Sandy's name in one episode (she's incorrectly referred to as "Sandy Squirrel" in "SpongeBob's Last Stand").
- Overcrank: Parodied in the "Bubble Buddy" episode.
- Overly Long Scream: Plankton did it once in the episode where he and Mr. Krabs switch places.
Plankton: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH *Takes a drink of his soda* AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
- Squidward's scream when SpongeBob and Patrick walk in on him during his bath, in a scene from "Have You Seen This Snail?" that has been subjected to Memetic Mutation.
- The Snail Bites commercial in "Treats".
- Overly Narrow Superlative:
- In "The Ghost of Plankton", Plankton (who had become a ghost) stumbles upon his funeral at the Chum Bucket and calls it "the worst funeral of mine I've ever been to".
- Parental Bonus: And how! Nosferatu, Dune and so on.
- And Flats the Flounder, if you know that it's Biff Tannen voicing him.
- Davy Jones' Locker is really guarded by The actual Davy Jones, complete with Daydream Believer in the background.
- In the episode "Missing Identity", when SpongeBob imagines the bank robber entering the store with his name tag, the robber yells "ATTICA!".
- A musical bonus: In the episode where Patrick becomes smart when he switches his brain with brain coral, he mentions a clarinet piece by "Cornelius Bumpfish". Someone on the writing team must like Steely Dan, whose clarinetist was a man named Cornelius Bumpus.
- In the episode "Professor Squidward", SpongeBob and Patrick are hypnotised by Squidward's metronome...SpongeBob: My whole life has been pointing in one direction...Patrick: I see it clearly now. There never has been any choice for me.
- In the episode "Idiot Box", when SpongeBob and Patrick are pretending that they are mountain climbers, one of the lines Patrick said was "I AM THE LIZARD KING!"
- Parents for a Day: SpongeBob and Patrick in "Rock-A-Bye Bivalve". SpongeBob was the mother. Patrick wanted to be the mother, but SpongeBob said he shouldn't because he doesn't wear a shirt.
Patrick: You're right. If I was a mom... <pans out to show grotesquely flabby, hairy chest>... this would be kinda shocking.
- Party of One: "I Had an Accident".
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: Patrick invents the word "wumbo" in one Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy episode.
- "I wumbo, you wumbo, he she we, WUMBO. Wumbo, wumboing... wumboligy? The study of wumbo? C'mon SpongeBob it's FIRST GRADE!"
- Perpetual Frowner: Squidward.
- Pie-Eyed: In the 10th Anniversary episode, Patchy shows a SpongeBob short in a 1920's style where everything has this eye style.
- Pity the Kidnapper:
- The Tattletale Strangler's reaction to SpongeBob.
- This happened to the Flying Dutchman TWICE. Once was when he tried to enslave Patrick and SpongeBob (they made horrible minions) and another time was when he bought SpongeBob from Mr. Krabs (SpongeBob was too annoying for him to keep).
- Please, I Will Do Anything!: SpongeBob gets Squidward to try a Krabby Patty.
- Plot Sensitive Latch: In the episode "Krabs Vs. Plankton", Mr. Krabs is sued by Plankton for slipping in the Krusty Krab, and his lawyer is indisposed, giving SpongeBob his briefcase, which he claims contains everything necessary to win the case. Unfortunately, the lawyer neglects to tell SpongeBob the combination to the lock, so he spends most of the trial struggling to open it. At the last possible moment, the briefcase opens, revealing a Krabby Patty, which is used to lure Plankton out of his ruse and lose the trial.
- Pooled Funds: Squidward does this on a pile of Krabby Patties after he becomes addicted to them. Mr. Krabs does this with money.
- The Power of Rock: In The Movie and an early episode, "Band Geeks".
- Produce Pelting: Squidward is hit with tomatoes during his ballet skit in "Culture Shock".
- Puff of Logic: SpongeBob doesn't have hair...or does he?
- Rampage From a Nail:
- One episode has a giant clam behaving this way. Everyone thinks it was because a peanut had been thrown at it; turns out Mr. Krabs stole its egg.
- There was also one episode in which Gary is entirely unruly and goes around biting people. Turns out it was from a piece of Squidward's makeshift security fence, almost making this example a parody.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy
- Raw Eggs Make You Stronger:
- In the episode "The Great Snail Race", SpongeBob puts Gary through Training from Hell to win the titular race. At one point, he maxes Gary an "energy drink" which includes raw eggs, simply "because it's a cliche!"
- Also, in "MuscleBob BuffPants", SpongeBob mentions that he "starts off with twenty raw eggs everyday".
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Patrick.
Sandy: Here Patrick, have a Krabby Patty. Psst! There he is, Patrick, say your line!
- Real After All: The Sea Bear.
- Santa in "Christmas Who?".
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Patrick gives one to SpongeBob near the end of "Dumped":
Patrick: I'm sorry, SpongeBob, but Gary's with me now. You had your chance and you failed. You have to stop living in the past. Face it SpongeBob, you're only hurting yourself. It's what Gary wants, and what Gary wants is me!
- Rebus Bubble: "Sponge... + Starfish = ...Scallop???"
- Recursive Adaptation: The Tie-in Novel For the Love of Bubbles was adapted into the episode "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?" which was in turn adapted into the Tie-In Novels WhoBob WhatPants? and My Name is CheeseHead.
- Removable Shell: Gary has sometimes, depending on the episode. Sometimes the shell lifts up to show something hidden inside; sometimes the shell is Bigger on the Inside and SpongeBob is able to crawl into it; and sometimes cracking the shell exposes Gary's veiny, throbbing innards.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: SpongeBob and Squidward.
- Repeat What You Just Said: In "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost":
Patrick: He [Squidward] really needs to get up to the great beyond.
- Repetitive Name: Dr. Gill Gilliam.
- Retraux: "Truth or Square" had a brief throwback to old black & white rubberhose cartoons.
- Riddle for the Ages: The secret formula of the Krabby Patty.
- Ridiculympics: The Fry Cook games, including events such as patty throwing, artistic ice cream diving, bun wrestling...
- Rich Bordom Mr. Krabs sells the Krusty Krab for a lot of loot. It's not long before he runs out of things to do in his retirement, goes on a rampage that destroys the Krusty Krab, buys the destroyed restaurant back, and it's all fixed up the next time we see it (in the next episode).
- Rockers Smash Guitars: After singing a campfire song.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: SpongeBob and Patrick with David Hasselhoff.
- Rousing Speech: In "Band Geeks":
SpongeBob: What kind of monsters are we? That poor creature came to us in his hour of need, and we failed him. Squidward's always been there for us when it was convenient for him. Evelyn, when your little Jimmy was trapped in a fire, who rescued him?
- Rubber Man: SpongeBob. Balls, kites, surfboards, you name it, he can become one. Of course, he's a sponge, and sponge material is easily moldable in real life.
- The more traditional superhero sense is spoofed in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V: Patrick gets the powers of Elastic Waistband, but he ends up seriously mangled (and unable to reform back) from a misguided attempt to help SpongeBob (who's The Quickster). Also, touching his arms with his toes is apparently something Patrick always wanted to do. Who knew?
- Rubber Forehead Aliens: Man Ray
- Ruined FOREVER: Mocked In-Universe. Patchy's reaction upon seeing "just a bunch of cheap walk cycles", thinking it was the lost episode he was excitedly counting down to. He threw out all of his SpongeBob stuff, even his Goofy Print Underwear by ripping it out of his pants.
Patchy: I'm gonna run away, that's what I'll do! Run away! (does so by crashing through a window)
- Rule of Funny: Laughbox
- Rule of Three: In the first season episode "Jellyfishing", Patrick helping an injured Squidward hold a jellyfish net.
Patrick: Firmly grasp it in your hand. (Patrick places the pole end on Squidward's bandaged hand, but it falls off because he can’t grab it. Patrick picks it up) Firmly grasp it. (He does the same thing again and the results are exactly like before. Patrick gets angry) FIRMLY GRASP IT! (Patrick jams the net through Squidward’s bandaged hand. He groans in pain) That oughta do it.
- Running Gag: "My leg!"
- Sadist Show: There has been an awful lot of Comedic Sociopathy in the later seasons.
- Safety Worst: In "I Had an Accident", after getting a "broken butt" after a sandboarding wipeout, SpongeBob takes a doctor's orders to be more careful too far and becomes a shut-in.
- Sapient Cetaceans: Pearl is a talking whale who lives the life of a human teenager.
- Scenery Censor: Mermaid Man in one episode, with Gary blocking his crotch until he can get a towel on; spoofed with SpongeBob in the episode "Nature Pants", as he has nothing to hide and in fact spent some...er, most shots without his crotch obscured
- Schmuck Bait- Would anyone care for a bon bon?
- Screwed by the Network: On their Nicktoons channel, as it only airs when most people are asleep. You were probably confused when you saw this trope on this page if you don't get Nicktoons. (That's probably because they don't need to air it on Nicktoons.)
- Might just be me, but is this this show leaning towards this trope on their main channel? I mean seriously, this show seems to be suffering Schedule Slip.
- Second-Person Attack: In "Pizza Delivery", when the fish ordering the Krusty Krab pizza refused to pay for the pizza because SpongeBob and Squidward forgot to bring him his soda, Squidward comes back at his door and shoves the pizza in the customer's face, saying "Well, this one's on the house!"
- Secret Ingredient: Plankton's schemes revolve entirely around discovering the secret ingredient of the Krabby Patty at business rival Mr. Krabs' The Krusty Krab. At one point (after overtaking the restaurant with the help of his millions of hillbilly brethren), Plankton finds out that the secret ingredient is actual plankton (Plankton and his family do not take the news well), but Mr. Krabs reveals that it wasn't the real secret ingredient, just a fake one used to dupe Plankton. Another episode involves the entire restaurant going into lockdown as the secret ingredient is air-lifted in.
- Seldom-Seen Species: Sponge. Also squid and plankton.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: SpongeBob and Patrick.
- Shaggy Dog Story: "Procrastination." SpongeBob finally gets his essay done, but when he turns it in the next morning, Mrs. Puff tells him the assignment has been canceled.
- Shaped Like What It Sells: Glove World is made of many different buildings shaped like gloves.
- The Chum Bucket is in the shape of a giant bucket.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Patrick had to go undercover (because he thinks someone is going to kick him out of town), so he dressed up as "Patricia". SpongeBob had to tell a few folks "she" wasn't his GF.
- Ship Tease: SpongeBob and Sandy (occasionally).
- If The Chaperone and Bossy Boots are anything, SpongeBob has some chemistry with Pearl too. In the former she tries to kiss SpongeBob on the lips (and SpongeBob actually reaches out to kiss back) and in the latter she outright pecks him on the forehead.
- That being said, it's advisable not to read too much into either of these pairings. Stephen Hillenburg has stated outright that SpongeBob is asexual (in the sponge sense of "not reproducing sexually", not the human sense of "not having any sexual attraction") just to ward off the shippers, and SpongeBob, being a cartoon that's meant to run on Rule of Funny is probably not the show to watch if you're into fictional relationships.
- Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy reference both the Batman TV series and Aquaman and Aqualad and Manta Ray is based off of Black Manta.
- In the episode about the Hash-Slinging Slasher, the flickering lights end up being caused by...Orlok? SpongeBob just laughs it off. "Nosferatu!"
- From that same episode, when Squidward observes the creepy occurrences in the Krusty Krab, he ends with: "And the walls will ooze green slime! ... Oh wait, they always do that."
- Mr. Krabs (shouting in response to Sandy about why there's only one fast-food restaurant in Bikini Bottom) "...There can be only one, drylander!" (Mr. Krabs is Clancy Brown, who played The Kurgan in Highlander).
- There was one in the movie to Parappa the Rapper.
- At one point in the Flying Dutchman's failed attempt to scare SpongeBob, he takes the form of a horrible, worm-like monster with the head of J. R. "Bob" Dobbs, complete with pipe.
- "King needs food badly!"
- In "Stanley S. SquarePants", it was revealed that Mr. Krabs has three nephews who solve mysteries.
- "SpongeBob's Last Stand" has one to The Beatles.
- "Look, SpongeBob! Wormsign!" *Cue a shot of a picket sign reading "Worm".*
- In Rule of Dumb, "With great power comes great responsibility."
- In the episode “Sailor Mouth”, there is a shoutout to George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words routine in this exchange:
Mr. Krabs: There are 13 bad words you should never use.
- In "New Student Starfish", Patrick's climb up the mountain of light bulbs has a brief shout out to The Price Is Right's Cliff Hanger Game, complete with yodeling and lederhosen.
- In "The Camping Episode", SpongeBob and Patrick end up smashing a guitar and a drum set, respectfully. Okay, quite a few Rockers Smash Guitars, so that could be a Shout-Out to any of those bands, right? Fast forward to the episode "Sweet And Sour Squid" where Squidward and Plankton are clearly singing a parody of "Pinball Wizard", and it seems to indicate that at least one writer among the crew is a fan of The Who, meaning that in the Camping Episode SpongeBob and Patrick were most likely immitating Pete Townshend and Keith Moon, respectfully.
- During the tenth anniversary special, Robin Williams asked Patchy if he knew Captain Hook. Granted, this is Robin Williams we're talking about, so that line was likely to have been ad-libbed, but still...
- In "Squidbob Tentaclepants," Sandy's teleportation device bears a striking resemblance to Brundle's telepods.
- Shrine to Self: Squidward, who only recreates himself in art.
- Shrunken Organ: In one episode, Squidward breaks his "laugh box" (an organ he thought he made up), which has to be removed. The doctor remarks that it's the most dried-up, underused laugh box he's ever seen; it's in a jar the size of a salt shaker. Inversely, SpongeBob has a laugh box so big that he was able to donate half of it to Squidward while still retaining the capacity to do some laughing of his own.
- Signature Laugh: Most of the characters have distinctive laughs:
- SpongeBob's dolphin giggle
- Patrick's moron laugh
- Squidward's nasal chortle
- Mr. Krab's pirate-accented "Ar-ar-ar-ar"
- Plankton's Evil Laugh
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Interestingly this is a concept that slowly drifted from one to the other. The show was originally cheerful and vaguely sentimental, but has nowadays become harsher and darker in its comedy.
- Slobs Versus Snobs: "Battle of Bikini Bottom"
- Smug Snake: Plankton, Karen, and Mr. Krabs Depending on the Writer.
- Snap Back -- About every other episode, especially in the earlier seasons. Otherwise, SpongeBob would have been the proprietor of the Krusty Krab for the last eight years or so.
- The above issue has been Handwaved, as the episodes supposedly don't happen in the exact order they come out in. This is at least the case for The Movie, which is the official ending for the series despite having been produced years ago. SpongeBob eventually becoming manager of the Krusty Krab 2 is firmly canon.
- The newer seasons are by no means immune. One early post-movie episode, Wishing You Well ended with Mr. Krabs being wished away and almost eaten. He was fine in time for the next episode.
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick:
- Potty sometimes serves just to make Patchy's life miserable. Squidward also counts in most episodes.
- Gary also counts, judging by SpongeBob's reactions to his meowing.
- Snow Means Cold: During wintertime, it always snows in Sandy's treedome.
- Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: Both SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs refuse to accept anyone can hate Krabby Patties (the plot device for Just One Bite and arguably Plankton's Regular).
- Though in the former episode, SpongeBob was aiming more for Squidward to just try it and when Squidward (falsely) proclaims he hates it, SpongeBob does accept it and realize he was wrong to be so forceful. The latter episode does play it straight, however.
- Sorry I Left the BGM On: Used several times, first when Plankton pulls out a tiny record player from Hammerspace to provide musical accompaniment for his Evil Laugh.
Krabs: Thats a 4/4 String Ostinato in D-Minor and every sailor knows it means death!
- Sound Effect Bleep: "Hey, Patrick, how the [DOLPHIN CHIRP] are ya?"
- This has been a very popular source of parody on YouTube, most involving editing cuss words in.
- Subverted with "Krusty Love." SpongeBob's cursing is filtered into nonsense vocal noises.
- Southern-Fried Genius: Sandy the Squirrel
- So Unfunny It's Funny: The show had this, especially in the earlier episodes. The real king is this gem:
Squidward: Why couldn't the 11-year old go to the pirate movie? It was rated Aaaarrrrrgh.
- Special Edition Title: "Christmas Who?" (done as The SpongeBob Christmas Special), "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob?" (done as WhoBob WhatPants), and "Truth or Square" (done with a remade version of the theme song and stop-motion animation).
- Sphere Eyes: SpongeBob himself.
- Split-Screen Phone Call: Parodied in "Jellyfishing" as well as many other episodes.
- Spoiled Brat: Pearl Depending on the Writer.
- Spotlight-Stealing Title
- Springtime for Hitler: It's theorized that all episodes after The Movie are this, as it was Stephen Hillenburg's intention to end it after the aforementioned movie.
- Just look at the list of episodes on the 10 Happiest Moments DVD. Only one of them is from a season above season three...
- Word of God has now stated that The Movie is the final episode, and the episodes we're seeing on TV are prior to the movie. Which explains a lot of things, like the Krusty Krab 2 and why Neptune is very old and balding in the movie but in the shows he's very young.
- Stable Time Loop: Squidward invents jellyfishing.
- Start My Own: In "Friend or Foe", it's revealed that Krabs and Plankton started a restaurant together as a retaliation when the owner of another restaurant wouldn't accept them as customers. Also, before Krabs started to make Krabby Patties, Plankton broke the partnership to start his own restaurant because nobody liked the patty the two of them made together.
- Status Quo Is God: Squidward loved Krabby Patties after trying them for the first time but then he hates them again (ex: Sir, I hate everything on the menu). Though it is possible the fact he ended up exploding from eating them made him continue to hate them.
- After "Friend or Foe" it is possible that Mr. Krabs and Plankton stayed friends as kids for a brief time (ex-shown pulling the main drain at the end)
- Stealth Insult: Squidward in "Band Geeks":
- "I really expected better of you people. I guess I'm a loser for that too."
- Stop Copying Me: Patrick does it to SpongeBob in "Big Pink Loser".
- Stock Audio Clip: SpongeBob's signature laugh, as well as the offscreen guy shouting "My leg!"
- Straw Loser: It takes a Butt Monkey to make SpongeBob and Patrick look like winners, Squidward apparently fills that role.
- Stupid Crooks: SpongeBob and Patrick deliberately attempted to rob a bank in order to try and break Mrs. Puff out of jail from the inside. For masks, both characters wore socks over their heads, which covered their eyes and didn't allow them to see where they were going, and the bank teller treats the entire ordeal as a normal exchange, asking SpongeBob for his name and ID (which he gladly hands over), pulling up his checking and savings accounts, and bluntly informing SpongeBob that he has no money in either account.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: In "Squilliam Returns":
Squidward: Try to Imagine him in his underwear...oh no, he's hot!"
- Suckiness Is Painful: Patrick's self-composed song in "Sing A Song Of Patrick", which is so awful that it actually kills the band that records it.
- Suddenly Voiced: In "The Secret Box", SpongeBob asks Gary if he thinks his plan is good. Gary replies with, "Hmm... NO."
- Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish:
Patrick, I didn't know you spoke bird!
- Sue Donym: In "Fear of a Krabby Patty", Plankton gives his name as "Peter Lankton". It is later shortened to "P. Lankton".
- "Hey, wait a second... is this a prank call?"
- Supreme Chef: Jim
- Surrounded by Idiots: Squidward -- Bigtime.
- Swallowed a Fly: In "Nasty Patty", the health inspector swallows a fly before he can take a bite of the 'Nasty Patty' that SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs fixed up. They believe that they killed him when they see him lying on the floor.
- Synchronized Swarming: Plankton rallies his extended family to aid him in finally stealing the Krabby Patty secret formula.
Mr. Krabs: Curse you Plankton, and your ability to join together to form a working human ear!
- Synchro Vox: Used in the opening with "Painty the Pirate", who starts the theme song.
- Take a Third Option: In the episode where Plankton is trying to build his Chum Bucket Mega Bucket in the Goo Lagoon, he tells SpongeBob that nice guys finish last, and that only aggressive people conquer the world. SpongeBob kindly retorts with "What about aggressively nice people?"
- Taking Advantage of Generosity: SpongeBob is often the victim of this.
- Talk Like a Pirate: Krabs, SpongeBob, and Patrick do this in "Aargh!" Sponge and Patrick take it to an absurd degree, though:
SpongeBob: Aargh, captain, aargh, we're, aargh, about, aargh, to hit, aargh-
- Team Rocket Wins: Plankton in Wishing You Well and the movie
- Squilliam in Squilliam Returns
- Ted Baxter: Squidward
- SpongeBob and Sandy also have their moments, though not as consistently.
- Teeth Flying: SpongeBob has to impersonate Mr. Krabs at his Navy reunion. One of Krab's buddies asks to punch him in the "armor abs", resulting in one of his teeth coming loose. The others are disappointed that he only lost one tooth, until he spits out a few more, and then his skeleton and the others declare, "Now that's manly!"
- Tempting Fate: A textbook example occurs in "Wet Painters," when SpongeBob and Patrick have to paint Mr. Krabs' house of valuable collectibles. Cue Murphy's Law, involving a giant paint bubble:
SpongeBob: Barnacles! What could be worse than a giant paint bubble?!
- Also, in "Can You Spare a Dime?":
SpongeBob: Squidward is not a freeloader and he would never take advantage of me.
- Terrible Artist : SpongeBob's crude drawings come to life in the episode "Frankendoodle". Even Patrick criticizes him on his lack of structure and perspective, though his drawings aren't any better.
- Terrible Ticking: Or in this case, squeaking, in "Squeaky Boots".
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Averted, SpongeBob has curly lashes... though he is a bit girly.
- That Cloud Looks Like A Flower: SpongeBob watches the clouds go by with Sandy, who then reminds him they are all flowers.
- Theme Tune Cameo: SpongeBob hums the show's credits theme (usually not heard due to Nickelodeon's Credits Pushback) in "Krabs vs. Plankton".
- The Ugly Barnacle: Trope Namer The entire story is a joke from the episode "Something Smells", showing Patrick's utter incompetence
- They Plotted a Perfectly Good Waste: A lot of post-movie episodes don't seem to rely much on a plot as they used to. One notable example is the episode "The Splinter", where SpongeBob gets, well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This particular episode had no plot whatsoever and instead of some fancy way to get it out, we are treated to 11 minutes of Nausea Fuel, and near the end, Mr. Krabs simply pulled it out in a way too predictable fashion to simply end it. Apparently, the creators believed Squick was hilarious and played out this episode to expect some laughs from viewers, but epically failed in doing so.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave:
- Squidward, when he loses his job in 'Can You Spare A Dime?'.
- SpongeBob when he has to take a vacation.
- the Flying Dutchman, after he wrecks his ghostly ship. Which had been fixed for 3 months by the time he decided to leave.
- This! Is! PATRICK![context?]
- My Name's! NOT! RICK!
- BIG! MEATY! CLAWS!
- Three Wishes: At the end of "Shanghaied".
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Squidward in 'Band Geeks', 'House Fancy', 'Enchanted Tiki Dream' and 'Suction Cup Symphony'. Plankton and Mrs. Puff in 'Wishing You Well'.
- Squidward receives one at the end of Love That Squid.
- Tie-in Novel
- Toilet Humor: Patrick's Stomach in Something Smells. SpongeBob cleaning a toilet as an actor for a sponge in a commercial.
- Tomato in the Mirror: "Wait a minute, Patrick... I'm the maniac!"
- Tom Kenny: In his most iconic role to date.
- Too Dumb to Live: Patrick. And SpongeBob in certain episodes.
- Not just Pat and SpongeBob, the entire cast, including random extras, tend to do incredibly stupid things.
- Took a Level In Dumbass: SpongeBob and Patrick after the movie.
- Sandy to an extent following the second season.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: In "Born Again Krabs" Mr. Krabs trades SpongeBob's soul for 62 cents. Just as he starts to feel bad about it, the Flying Dutchman comes back to return SpongeBob after being annoyed by his incessant chatter about his hobbies.
- The Flying Dutchman gave SpongeBob and Patrick up as slave crewmen in "Shanghaied" because they were incredibly bad at it. In a subversion, rather than letting them go, he planned to eat them, but they escaped. Then the Dutchman catches them, but he offers them three wishes before they're eaten. After accidentally using up two of their wishes, they use their final wish to turn the Dutchman into a vegetarian. But then they appear in a blender, somehow transformed into fruit, with the Dutchman preparing to eat them.
- In a third Flying Dutchman example, namely "Scaredy Pants", SpongeBob is shaved down by Patrick to make him rounder for a sheet he uses as a Flying Dutchman costume to try to scare everyone in the Krusty Krab for Halloween. He fails miserably, but as the entire restaurant is laughing at him the real Dutchman arrives, angered by SpongeBob's insulting costume and about to steal everyone's souls. He takes a moment before doing so to explain the concept of being scary to SpongeBob, then removes the sheet... and flies away screaming when he sees the sponge had been shaved down to facial features, a brain, and a "spinal cord".
- Tradesnark: In one episode, SpongeBob and Patrick play
FrisbeeSmall Plastic Disc That You Throw/Toss.
- Training from Hell: The episode when a Drill Sergeant Nasty shark teaches SpongeBob how to drive. It works, but SpongeBob ends up being able to drive only when BLINDFOLDED. Hilarity Ensues.
- Troubled Fetal Position: Played for laughs with Squidward in "Band Geeks", after another screw-up by his slapdash marching band.
- SpongeBob does this for a whole episode in which he becomes afraid to go outside, so he decides to live inside his house for the rest of his life. Thankfully, he got over it.
- One episode had Kevin the Sea Cucumber sits in a fetal position and cry for his mommy and blankie when attacked by a King Jellyfish. The other Jellyspotters join in shortly until SpongeBob saves them all.
- Two Shorts Format: There are occasional episodes containing a third short -- namely, the Pilot and five of the fifth season's episodes.
- Two-Timer Date: Averted; you see, SpongeBob had three appointments booked for the same time, not two.
- Umpteenth Customer: A customer gets this for giving Mr. Krabs his millionth dollar earned. He gets no prize; he and the others just get thrown out so that Krabs can enjoy the dollar in peace. He does reward his workers, though... with a fishing trip.
- Unreadably Fast Text: In "No Free Rides", SpongeBob's date of birth is given as 14 July 1986.
- The Un-Reveal: THE SECRET RECIPE TO THE KRABBY PATTY SECRET FORMULA IS -- *Cuts to credits/ a commercial*
- In Krabby Road we are given a brief glimpse at the formula. However the ingredients are nonsense words comprised of random letters akin to something a frustrated person might type when banging on a keyboard.
- A book detailing the series claimed to have the secret formula at the end. All it read was, in .5-point font, "Congratulations! You know how to use a magnifying glass!"
- In "Mooncation", Patrick is shown watching a soap opera where we see a fish named Frankie Billy about to reveal to a female fish named Carol who her real father is, only for the TV to go out, due to SpongeBob and Sandy inadvertantly damaging the satellite in space.
Patrick: Hey! Who's Carol's real father?!
Plankton: Oh, look, it's the Krusty Krab, home of the Krabby Patty! CRUSH! [Crushes the restaurant, picks up its sign and starts to lick it like a lollipop] Lick, lick!
- Unstoppable Rage: Patrick was tearing up the carnival in the Valentine's Day episode after he only got a handshake (while SpongeBob got other people roses, a box of chocolates, and a bike).
- Unusual Euphemism: "Fishpaste!" "Barnacles!" "Tartar Sauce!" etc.
- Vague Age: SpongeBob lives on his own and holds down a job, yet is considered a "kid" by some. However, a few episodes give his DOB. Possibly justified when considering his mental age, or the long lifespan of actual sponges.
- He's failed boating school thirty-seven times as of the start of the series. (Meow) Umm...thirty eight times.
- And he has HUNDREDS of employee of the month awards by the time The Movie takes place. Employee of the month awards that would take 37 years and two months just to win.
- His drivers license says he was born in 1986. So Word of God is he's twenty three putting the series in 2009.
- Valentine's Day Episodes: "Valentine's Day".
- Verbal Tic: In Rock Bottom, you actually need to raspberry between words (i.e.: JUST * PPPTPTPTP* LIKE * PTPTPT* THIS) in order for you to be understood.
"What? *pbthbth* I can't *pbthbth* understand *pbthbth* your accent. *pbthbth*
- Villain Song: The pirate ghosts from "Ghost Fools" get one.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Type 1 with SpongeBob and Squidward.
- Vocal Evolution: Tom Kenny's SpongeBob voice was somewhat deeper and nasal in earlier seasons, before becoming higher pitched and childlike later on.
- Walk On the Wild Side Episode: In one episode, Squidward gets so fed up with SpongeBob and Patrick's antics that he decides to move out into a gated community filled with other squids who share his interests. Inside, he finds that everyone else has a Easter Island head house, everyone else loves playing the clarinet, everyone else loves riding their paddlebikes, everyone else loves ballet dancing, and everyone else enjoys eating canned bread. He's thrilled at this, but soon gets bored of the same routine every day, to the point where he starts going out of control and just lets loose while playing around with a leaf blower. The other citizens filled a formal list of complaints, but Squidward tells them off by flying his leaf blower into the sky while screaming wildly.
- Watching the Sunset: With Squidward.
SpongeBob:' This is great. Just the three of us; you, me, and this brick wall you built between us."
- Water Is Air: Most noticeable in the episode involving a wind storm that causes SpongeBob's holes to whistle.
- SpongeBob and friends are also perfectly capable of falling off cliffs, taking baths...
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Looking on the positive light post-Flanderization, you'd see Mr. Krabs as this.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Krabby Patties
- "CHOCOLATE?! CHOCOLATE!!!!"
- In the episode "Procrastination". As the name implies, SpongeBob grapples with his denial for hesitation in writing a 800-word essay. In one of his many time-wasting gimmicks, he spends an implied ludicrous amount of time and effort writing the "The" at the start of the paper, so the sequence ends up just looking "awesome" instead of being the Hard Work Montage it initially appears to be.
- The opening scene of The Movie features a dramatic scene based around the "crisis" of a customer being given a Krabby Patty without cheese, complete with a slow-motion sequence of SpongeBob putting some cheese into the patty. It's a Dream Sequence, but still...
- How about any time the Krabby Patty is brought to the audiences attention by SpongeBob, or at least when it focuses on him making Krabby Patties?
- When a customer gets a Patty with jellyfish jelly added, he's so enthused that he bursts into an impromptu musical number: "LISTEN to me, everybody! I just had a sand-wich! It's no ordinary sand-wich!"
- And in one of the "Legends of Bikini Bottom" episodes, SpongeBob is unconscious due to his Krabby Patty meter being empty. Mr. Krabs gets him to eat one. He then blasts up, explodes into pieces, then regenerates after all of them land together, and then... "OHHHHHHHHH, YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!"
- Mermaid Man. "To the meatloaf... AWAY!"
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Heinous?: SpongeBob tends to overreact whenever he makes a single mistake during his job, like being late by a minute, accidentally giving a customer a large-sized soda instead of a medium one, being out of napkins...
- "We're not talking about some dumb mail fraud scheme or hijacking here... WE STOLE A BALLOOOOOOOON!!!! And they're gonna lock us up forever!"
- ~What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made On Drugs?~: "Squidward in Clarinet Land" is a possible example.
- Karate Island maybe.
- The White Void Room scene in "SB-129".
- "Welcome to Squidward's Tiki Land..."
- The Fly of Despair from "Shanghaied".
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- At one point in "Prehibernation Week", Sandy tells SpongeBob that they're going fly-fishing, but then they go finding the hay in the needle stack instead, as if she completely forgot about the other sport, and without one mention of any change of plans.
- In "Mr. Krabs Takes a Vacation", SpongeBob is desperate to use the bathroom during the car trip, but when he, Mr. Krabs, and Pearl arrive at the Bikini Bottom Mint, it's never brought up again.
- What The Hell, SpongeBob?: When SpongeBob accidentally makes Karen cry some more after Plankton dumps her, Mr. Krabs responds to this with this:
Mr. Krabs: (Angrily) Smooth, SpongeBob. VERY smooth!
- Who's on First?: "Good Ol' Whatshisname", in which Squidward tries to find out the name of a mystery customer.
- Who's Watching the Store?: Only three people operate the Krusty Krab, and all three are not always at work at the same time.
- Sometimes Squidward can cook when SpongeBob's not around, although he's not very good at it.
- Workaholic: SpongeBob ADORES his job at the Krusty Krab, to the point where he goes insane when Mr. Krabs tries to make him take a vacation.
- Work Off the Debt: The plot of "Pat No Pay."
- World of Cardboard Speech: SpongeBob performs one at the end of The Movie. Then after that...
- Worlds Smallest Violin: In a scene from "Squilliam Returns" in which Mr. Krabs plays the World's Smallest Violin as a variant of this trope.
Mr. Krabs: Oh, boo hoo. Let me play a sad song for you on the World's Smallest Violin. [Does so]
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Mr. Krabs in Born Again Krabs.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: The Krusty Krab.
- X Must Not Win: While usually fine defending his own business, Mr. Krabs is sometimes shown to have an unsettling grudge towards any minor success his rival Plankton gains, even so much as gaining one customer is enough for him to start on an obsessive vendetta in stealing Plankton's "business".
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Some episodes tend to do this to both Squidward and Plankton. Used so often in the later seasons that it's almost the show's signature trope.
- SpongeBob whenever he tries to get his driver's license.
- Yes-Man: The Jellyspotters
- Yes, Virginia: The Christmas Episode
- You Can Say That Again: SpongeBob utters the line in the episode "The Two Faces of Squidward", after Patrick says "We're not just neighbors...", and Patrick, as one might expect, follows through.
- Your Costume Needs Work: "That's the worst SpongeBob costume I've ever seen!" — Passenger on a train ride that SpongeBob himself is driving in the episode "The Krusty Sponge"
- Your Eyes Can Deceive You: A method used by one driving teacher...and it actually works! But now SpongeBob can only drive safely while blindfolded...
- Your Television Hates You: In "Idiot Box", Squidward is trying to forget about SpongeBob and Patrick playing in their box, but everything on TV is about boxes, even boxing.